One of the occupants of the ill-fated UPDAF Jet Ranger AF302 that crashed on Tuesday in Gomba district was due for a course in the US next month, the Nile Post has learnt.
Speaking during the requiem mass at the Church of the Resurrection in Bugolobi on Thursday, the Uganda People’s Defence Air Forces(UPDAF) Chief of Staff, Brig. Charles Okidi revealed that Karungi was set for an instructors’ course in the US so she could be able to train other pilots.
“She had been nominated to go for a pilot instructors’ course in the US because we thought if she became an instructor, her patience would give others ample time to learn,”Brig. Okidi said.
The training was to be done in Michigan.
According to Jacqueline Akello from the US embassy in Kampala, she got to know Karungi in 2016 as she prepared to go to the US for her Squadron commander course in Alabama.
Karungi completed her Squadron commander course in 2016 at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama which is also known as Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base under the Air Education and Training Command of the US Air Force.
Akello told mourners that Karungi always wore smiling face and was humble and spoke softly.
Fast forward, she said on Tuesday, she was preparing Maj.Karungi’s travel documents including the passport and visa before she could fly to the US for the training next month.
“She was supposed to go in February and her visa was ready. As I was trying to clear her documents, the news was broken to me that she had died in a crash. It struck me,”Akello said of the deceased.
The UPDAF Chief of Staff said she had known Maj.Karungi since 2006 and that he had personally followed her.
“She was a very brilliant officer who could listen to corrections. During operations, she was not just a normal officer. She was so brave that she could do anything that men could do and did it with passion,” Brig.Okidi said.
He said that apart from being a good pilot, Karungi was also a good commander who was resolute on the right things.
“She could not waiver and we could trust her.”