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Fairbanks

Air Force officer cycling in Interior Alaska struck and killed by vehicle

A squadron commander cycling Saturday on the Steese Highway northeast of Fairbanks was struck by a vehicle and killed, according to officials.

Maj. Michael Gentry, 354th Contracting Squadron commander, was fatally struck by a vehicle Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, while he was cycling northeast of Fairbanks. (Photo courtesy of Eielson Air Force Base)

Maj. Michael “Cal” Gentry, 37, died after being struck near Central. He was the 354th Contracting Squadron commander at the base near North Pole and had served in the Air Force since 2007.

Gentry and two other airmen were on a cycling trip from Fairbanks to Circle when Gentry and 39-year-old Jay Butler were struck by a truck at around 6 a.m. near Mile 125 of the Steese Highway, according to a statement from the troopers. The area is roughly 3 miles west of Central.

The driver was part of the cycling group, troopers said. The three men had alternated between cycling and driving the support vehicle, a 2015 Dodge Ram truck. Investigators said the driver inadvertently struck the cyclists while following them.

“Our entire team is heartbroken at the loss of Cal Gentry to this tragic accident,” said Col. Shawn Anger, 354th Fighter Wing commander. “He loved anything and everything outdoors and there is at least a little solace knowing Cal died doing something he loved.”

Troopers said the driver’s name will not be released until the investigation is complete.

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