These three men died fighting our bushfires. This wasn't even their home.

Captain Ian McBeth, first officer Paul Clyde Hudson and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan died for our country.

But Australia wasn’t their country. They were here helping us. Helping us save our beautiful country.

The three Americans died in horrendous bushfire conditions in the NSW Snowy Mountains on January 23.

The heat was up around 90 degrees and the wind gusts were at 100km/hour.

WATCH: This is the kind of danger our firefighters are in when they risk their lives for us. Post continues after video.

Video by NSW Fire and Rescue

Their C-130 Hercules water-bomber aircraft crashed north-east of Cooma in the early afternoon, killing all three men on impact.

Five firefighters have already died before them during this bushfire season.

But the difference was, this wasn’t their home.

They were visitors here.

They were some 15,000km from their loved ones when they died defending ours.

Ian Mcbeth was a fun-loving father of three and loving husband to wife Bowdie.

The 44-year-old pilot was from Great Falls, Montana. He’d spent his entire life flying C-130s and was a qualified instructor and evaluator. He’d served as a member of the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airflift Wing, and had been sent on US military tours to both Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an emotional interview with TV station KULR8, his daughter, Abi, shared memories of some of his best pranks.

“As a father he was super supporting, he always made sure my homework was done, he always wanted me to do the best that I possibly could at school and have as many opportunities as I could,” she added.


“I just want everybody to see how wonderful he was as a person,” said Abi, who is training to be a pilot as well.

Abi and her dad Ian McBeth who died in Australia's bushfire fighting efforts. Image: KULR8.

Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, was the first officer on the flight, and helped battle last year's California wildfires.

He'd spent 20 years serving in the US Marine Corps in a number of positions, including as a C-130 pilot. He also had two master's degrees in business administration and information technology.

He was from Arizona, and leaves behind his wife Noreen.

"He died as he lived ... helping others," one of his friends wrote on Facebook.

Rick DeMorgan was from Florida.

He has two kids, Lucas and Logan, and spent 18 years in the US Air Force as an engineer clocking up 2000 hours in a combat environment.

"Rick's passion was always flying and his children," wrote Coulson Aviation on Facebook.

"To most the sky was the limit, to them it was home," wrote his sister Jen.

Their families flew into Sydney over the weekend.

They had to step off a plane on the other side of the world - into a country that was foreign to them - but one where their dad, brother and husband died a hero.


They visited the crash site on Wednesday, and attended a memorial service alongside the NSW Premier, our decorated fire chiefs and our politicians the following day.

Most in the crowd were figures and faces they were not familiar with.

"A few minutes ago, the chaplain asked us to describe Ian in a few words. His wife Bowdie, who loved him dearly, said he was 100 per cent. A 100 per cent man," Ian McBeth's brother Bill told the service, reported 9News.

Australia Wildfires
Noreen Hudson, wife of Paul Hudson, is given flowers by a firefighter during a memorial in Richmond, Sydney. Image: RFS via AP.

"He sent me a video of him driving on the wrong side of the road playing the Crocodile Dundee theme song," US Air Force Attache Lieutenant Colonel Drew Cunnar said about Rick DeMorgan.

The three men were posthumously awarded a commissioner's commendation for service by the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Their names will be engraved on Australia's national memorial.

Like the five Aussie firefighters who died before them, these three men were true heroes.

They died protecting a country that wasn't even their own.

Thank you just isn't a big enough word for their sacrifice on our soil.


Feature image: AAP.