Friends say airman killed in Florida training accident is father - KPTV - FOX 12

Friends say airman killed in Florida training accident is father of five from Oregon

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A father of five who grew up in Oregon was one of two people killed in an air force training accident in Florida. 

Sgt. Marty Bettelyoun, 35, was born in Eugene, and was an Oregon City High School grad, according to a friends.  He went on to be a Special Forces airman with the US Air Force. 

Friends say Sgt. Bettelyoun was getting ready to be a groom all over again.  He had recently popped the question to wife Jennifer, and they were planning to re-new their wedding vows this month.

“He was giving her the big wedding that he wasn’t able to give her in the beginning,” said longtime friend Leah Scott, of Vancouver.  “They were actually getting ready to renew their vows in about a week and a half.”

It’s hard for Scott to think about now, on so many levels.

“His wife is still in shock, and I think she’s just trying to come to terms with this and understand something that is so hard to understand,” said Scott. “She has to take care of the five kids and help them get through this, and figure out what this means for them now.”

Investigators say the father of five was parachute jumping Monday at the Eglin Air Force base. Friends say he collided with another airman during that freefall training.  Both were rushed to the hospital, but later died. 

The Air Force says Bettelyoun was a 15 year veteran that had been deployed to various combat zones over the years. 

It’s difficult, says Scott, to know he lost his life on something so routine.

“Of all of the things, it’s a training exercise,” said Scott. “But, to be quite honest, he left this world doing something he loved, and what else can you ask for.”

Scott described Bettelyoun as a true hero, who would make friends just about anywhere he went.  Scott added that he would do anything for the ones he loved.  

She’s now preparing to fly down to Florida to say her goodbyes, and support the family he so adored.

“He was there for me when I needed him, and I’ll be there for his family, that’s what he would have wanted,” said Scott.

Scott set up a Gofundme account to help Bettelyoun’s wife and five kids as they deal with this loss.  For more information visit: http://www.gofundme.com/34q2g62g

The pentagon says its heartfelt condolences go out to Bettelyoun’s family and friends. 

The incident is still under investigation.

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