HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Garza was a helicopter pilot who was stationed in Hawaii twice during his 14-year career with the U.S. Army, until he was a transferred to an international peacekeeping mission in Egypt.
That’s where he died last week Thursday when the helicopter he was flying crashed off shore.
“He was very, very good at what he did. He was very thorough,” said his fiancee, Kaitlyn Baker. “He’s very knowledgeable, and every I talked to say this could have never happened to him. It’s almost like Superman has died, you know?”
Baker and Garza met in Hawaii three years ago, when was stationed at Wheeler Army Air Field. He fell in love with her, but he had already fallen in love with the islands.
“Out of all his tours, I will tell you that everywhere he got stationed, that was by far his favorite,” said his uncle David Ramirez, in San Antonio, Texas.
Garza transferred out of Hawaii late last year. Baker was waiting until his one-year mission in the Middle East was done before she would move and join him.
“He always talked about Hawaii. He always wanted to come back. If he could have had his way he would have come back and done another six years,” Baker said.
His sister, Aurora Long of Madison, Wis., visited him twice in Hawaii.
“He took us to his favorite bar, the Barefoot Bar, to watch the fireworks on Friday,” Long remembered. “And if anybody was alone, he would say, ‘hey, come over here,’ and he’d have them introduce themselves.”
The Army was Garza’s blood. His father was a 20 year Army veteran with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Garza also knew he wanted to become a pilot.
“He taught himself like all the control panels, like he wanted to fly at an early age,” said Ramirez. “That’s how persistent he was. And that’s all he would talk about.”
Garza was piloting a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when it went down off the Sinai Peninsula. He was among five Americans and two international soldiers killed in the crash. Investigators suspect a mechanical malfunction. One soldier survived.
On Monday, Garza’s remains returned home in a solemn ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
“In my eyes he died a hero,” said Baker. “There as a survivor, so that speaks a lot about his ability in what happened that day.”
Baker also wants to make sure that Garza is remembered in Hawaii.
“I don’t want his time here to be forgotten. I want it to be memorable, because it was really important to him, and I think it was a special time in his life.”