MARYSVILLE, CA - Airmen at Beale Air Force Base are mourning the loss of the third Beale airman to die in the last six months.
In November, Airman Ayaz Ali was found dead in Nevada County, the victim of a single-vehicle crash. Earlier this month, it was Airman Michael Anthony Gabany, found dead in his Yuba City home. Then Monday night, investigators found Airman Rachael Bell dead in an off-base home in Nevada County.
Beale officials said none of the deaths show any sign of foul play, and there's nothing to connect the cases except the collective grief felt by those on base.
"We're a team, so it's very hard when we lose one of our own, especially when you lose more than one in such a short period of time, but we're professionals, so we pull together and help one another through times like these," Beale spokesperson Major Marcella Huber said.
The base isn't the only community mourning the losses. Beale plays such a critical role to the surrounding community that every loss is felt, much less three.
"There's enough of them we're losing overseas, and to lose them here, it makes it pretty close to home," Wheatland resident Julie Hensley said.
"This community really cherishes the base, and I know a lot of military people and stuff, so anytime we hear anybody from the military community passing away, it definitely affects us," Olivehurst resident Curtis Collier said.
"It broke my heart because this is a really close community," Marysville resident Erica Romero said. "And for someone to pass like that in such a close time period, it just broke my heart because, like I said, they do a lot for us."
Each death investigation is being handled by local law enforcement in cooperation with the Air Force. Meanwhile, Beale officials said they have a comprehensive program in place at the base to help airmen cope with the losses.