KAMPALA – The two UPDF officers who perished in the helicopter crash in Gomba District on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, have been identified.
The officers are Lt Benon Wakalo, who hails from Manafwa District in eastern Uganda and Maj Naome Karungi, who hails from Ntungamo District in Western Uganda. They served in Uganda People’s Defence Air Force, the aviation branch of Uganda’s military.
Maj. Karungi, who has been flying helicopters for over 15 years since 2005, joined the army after completing her degree in Social Work in Economics at Makerere University. After completion of her cadet training, she joined flying school, kicking off her career as a pilot. She got her first training at Soroti Flying School, where she trained for three years in the Basics of Controlling and Aircrafts In-Motion.
The military Jet ranger AF302 crashed during a training mission, Brig. Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesperson, said.
Ugandans from all walks of life took to social media to mourn the deceased.
Tabu Butagira posted “Sad day for my country Uganda and our military. These two young officers, Lt. Benon Wakalo and Maj. Naome Karungi, died in a helicopter crash today. Members of the uniformed forces and Intelligence take the utmost risk to keep us all safe. We mourn their loss with families that gave them in selfless service of our country. Shall their souls get deserved repose.”
Innocent Mwine posted: “Karungi wanyita. Why die at such a young age? I recall chatting with you immediately you got your Maj.Peeps. I feel so bad losing such a God-fearing, beautiful, professional young senior specialised officer and a friend to my wife. Rest in Peace Afande.”
Ambrosio Mukiga Wazabanga Barigye posted: “Oh no..I really watched her interview on NTV sometime back and she really was a determined pilot. May her soul rest in peace.”
Robert N. Musoke: “Oh no. I watched her interview not so long ago. I admired her as a woman who had achieved so much in such a field like military aviation. May her soul rest in eternal peace.”
Julius Ruchogoza: “Oh God Afande Karungi my friend, my senior. I personally flew with you several times. Now God has decided, may your soul rest in peace my hero.”
Nak Mic: “This woman has fought, and died, in service of her country. She trained in the military-style: slept on metal cots, marched and lived under military discipline. She deserves full honor we give our war heroes. May her soul rest in peace.”