Updated below…

Ron Chambless, Philmont staff member (Kit Carson-Rayado, 1994, Ranger 1995-1996), co-piloted the ill-fated P2V Lockheed Martin aircraft that crashed making its second run fighting the White Rock fire in the Hamlin Valley area of Iron County, Utah, on Sunday June 3rd.


Ron had a colorful career as a pilot following his years at Philmont flying around the world to deliver air cargo and ferry planes into places as far-flung as Australia, Greenland, Saudi Arabia and India. He piloted weather planes into storms and air-tankers into fires. From Wichita Falls, TX, Ron first visited Philmont as a Scout and came back for several seasons as staff, falling in love with the forested mountains and jagged peaks he worked to protect as a professional pilot (he was one of the pilots on support during the Ponil Complex fire that devistated Philmont in 2002). He made his home in Boise, ID, but spent much of his time at his cabin in Eagle’s Nest. He leaves behind a large circle of friends stretching around the world.

A memorial service in Boise, Idaho with his family and friends is tentatively scheduled for June 16. Ashley Ford is compiling a list of any who would be interested in helping with that service.

UPDATE (2012-6-11):

From Ron’s Facebook Page — the Boise Memorial Service is now scheduled for Thursday, June 14th:

The Ron Chambless Memorial will be at The Linen Building on 14th and Grove, Thursday, June 14 at 7pm [please note the time change]. It is my understanding this is a joint memorial for both pilots.

The Procession will be leaving from Wildland Firefighter Foundation to go to the Linen Building.

Meet at 6pm at the Foundation if you’d like to be part of the procession. Friends will be driving Ron’s Vanagon down with the procession and then setting it up as though he’s at a campsite. The US Forest Service and BLM Honor Guard will be there, and there will be an open mic for those wanting to speak.

A photo slide show is in the works for the memorial. If you have photos you would like to include of Ron, please send them to Ashley Ford and she will pass them along. Hash House Harriers are encouraged to wear their hasher t-shirts to the memorial, and friends are also planning to honor Ron at the Temple Burn at this year’s Burning Man Festival.

Also, this is a nice link to the news story showing his funeral procession in Wichita Falls this weekend with the Honor Guard:

And to relate one of those fun stories from the weekend, his Mom, Paula, and best childhood friend, David, shared that when they put Ron’s urn into the hearse the vehicle’s engine stopped. They got it going againa nd it again died as they were leaving the airport. As they got onto the highway it stopped for a third time and they transferred Ron to one of the firetrucks providing the escort… apparently he didn’t want to ride in the hearse!