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Photo: Coulson Aviation
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Paul Clyde Hudson, a 1995 Alamo Heights High School graduate, was one of three American firefighters killed in a plane crash while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia.
The trio was aboard a C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker that crashed after dropping fire retardant along a ridge.
Hudson, who lived in Buckeye, Arizona, is survived by his wife Noreen.
An Alamo Heights ISD spokesperson confirmed Hudson attended the high school from 1993 to 1995.
Hudson had recently retired from the United States Marine Corp as a Lt. Colonel after a 20-year career. He held master’s degrees in both Business Administration and Information Technology Management from the Naval Postgraduate School, according to a statement from Coulson Aviation.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I tell you we lost a great AHHS friend,” a former classmate wrote on Facebook. “Paul Clyde “PC” Hudson died in a firefighting plane crash in Australia. A recent Marine Corps retiree he died as he lived … helping others.”
Hudson was the first officer aboard the California-based C-130. Captain Ian H. McBeth, of Montana, and flight engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr., of Florida, also lost their lives in the crash.
Since September, Australia has dealt with an unprecedented fire season. The death toll from the blazes now stands at 33 and fires have also destroyed more than 2,600 homes.
“Our hearts go out to their loved ones. They were helping Australia, far from their own homes, an embodiment of the deep friendship between our two countries,” Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
“Thank you to these three, and to all the brave firefighters from Australia and around the world. Your service and contribution are extraordinary. We are ever grateful.”