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'Flying was his dream': Pilot killed in military helicopter crash honoured in hometown of Woodstock

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A memorial service for one of two Royal Canadian Air Force pilots killed in a training exercise in Petawawa, Ont. last month was held on Tuesday in Woodstock, Ont.

Capt. David Domagala, 32, of Woodstock and Capt. Marc Larouche, 53, of Amos, Que. died on June 20 when the military helicopter they were in crashed into the Ottawa River. Two other crew members on board survived and were treated for minor injuries.

On Tuesday, Domagala’s friends and family said goodbye at a private funeral at Holy Trinity Parish in Woodstock.

Meanwhile in a public display of gratitude, a Chinook helicopter flypast took place overhead and Domagala’s colleagues from the 450 tactical squadron performed a rifle volley in his honour as members of the community gathered to watch. 

“To watch it fly over today, you know you feel it in your gut, you feel it in your heart that it was a piece of him, waving goodbye,” Domagala’s friend Samantha Ewasick said.

The pair met around 2005 when they were members in the same Air Cadet Unit in Stratford.

“Dave was - he was a hero for a lot of people,” Ewasick said.

“He was the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, even if he barely knew you.”

Domagala’s family asked for privacy but released this statement through the Royal Canadian Air Force:

“Dave was not only a loving life partner, the best dada in the galaxy, an incredible son/son-in-law and dedicated military pilot, he also meant the world to everyone who knew him. He constantly showed us more love than we could ever have imagined, and we will miss him to infinity and beyond.”

“Flying was his dream, and we are all so proud of him, but deeply saddened that his full potential was never fulfilled. The loss of Dave is a tremendous heartache that I hope no other military spouse or family will have to endure.”

Larouche will be honoured in a separate memorial service in Petawawa on Friday, July 7.

With files from CTV Ottawa

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