Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, July 2, 2005

Profiles of 10 service members who died aboard Chinook

 •  6 SEALs identified in crash of copter
 •  SEAL unit specialized in commando delivery
 •  A tribute to Pearl Harbor's Navy SEALs

Advertiser Staff

Eight Navy SEALs and eight members of the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, known as the Night Stalkers, were aboard a Chinook helicopter that crashed in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan on Tuesday, the military said. It was the deadliest single blow to American forces fighting an escalating insurgency in the country. Here are some of the victims:

SSgt. Shamus Goare

Goare tricked his mother into letting him join the military at age 17, shortly before his high school graduation.

Twelve years later, he was a member of an elite Army team known as the Night Stalkers, trained to fly special forces commandos behind enemy lines under cover of night. Goare, whose parents said he recently had been promoted, was aboard a helicopter sent to retrieve soldiers in the mountains of Afghanistan when the Chinook was shot down.

His father, Charles Goare, said he and his wife were proud of their son, a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. He remembered how their son had fooled his mother, Judy, into signing his enlistment form.

"He told her it was a form for something else; I don't remember what," Charles Goare said. "That was 11 years ago."

"He thought maybe he'd get to see the world before he went to college," he said. "Then he just stayed in."

Dan Healy

Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy

Healy would have celebrated his 37th birthday on July 17.

"He's leaving a wonderful legacy to his family and to his children," said Healy's mother, Natalie Healy of Exeter, N.H.

Healy and his wife, Norminda, had no children, his mother said, but her son had four children from two previous marriages: A son, Jake, 14, and daughter Chelsea, 13, from his first marriage, both live in San Diego, she said. Two daughters, Jasmine, 7, and Sasha, 5, from his second marriage, live in Honolulu.

Healy had two sisters, Jennifer, 36, of San Diego, and Shannon, 22, of Exeter. He had a half- brother, Sean, 29, of Rutland, Vt., and a half-sister, Carrie, 24, of San Marcos, Texas, from the marriage of Henry "Tom" Healy and his wife, Laurie Healy, who live in Manchester, N.H.

Petty Officer Jeffrey Alan Lucas

Lucas told his father he was born to be a SEAL. And for 17 years he lived that dream until it came to a tragic end on Tuesday in the rugged mountains of northern Afghanistan.

Lucas' father, Rick Lucas of Prineville, Ore., described his son Jeff as a family man who doted on his wife, Rhonda, and his 4-year-old son, Seth. The family lived in Virginia Beach, Va., where Jeff had been stationed for the past several years, Rick Lucas said.

"I just feel sorry and at a loss for words," he said. "I feel like I lost a good friend."

His family was already planning to hold a memorial service in Jeff's hometown of Corbett, a small town 20 miles east of Portland in the Columbia Gorge, where his ashes would be scattered in a special spot that Jeff had picked out.

Jeff was an outgoing athlete growing up. He was a running back at Corbett High School and played basketball and ran track, Rick Lucas said. Jeff loved to ski, learning to carve turns on the slopes of Mount Hood beside his father. An avid golfer, Jeff bought Seth his own set of toy clubs so that he could teach him how to hit.

Jeff served multiple tours, including one in Iraq. His Afghanistan tour started last November, Rick Lucas said.

Michael McGreevy

U.S. Navy Lt. Michael McGreevy

McGreevy was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who hailed from the small town of Portville, N.Y., population 4,000, where he was remembered as an outstanding student, athlete and "top-notch kid."

Kevin Curran, principal of the town's high school where McGreevy graduated third in his class 12 years ago, said, "He made a huge impact on us, that we remember him this well."

"He was a great athlete, great student, nice personality, and was so polite," added Linda Scott, a Portville guidance counselor.

McGreevy, 30, who was married and the father of a 1-year-old child, was stationed in Virginia Beach, Va.

Eric Shane Patton

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Shane Patton

Patton, of Boulder City, Nev., was following in his father's steps when he joined the military and became a Navy SEAL.

The 2000 graduate of Boulder City High School had been serving in Afghanistan when military officials notified his father of the helicopter crash this week, said Keith Gronquist, a court administrator who works with James Patton, a city marshal and retired Navy SEAL.

Gronquist and Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., who also said he had been told Shane Patton was aboard the helicopter, did not know his rank or where he had been based.

"Boulder City and the state of Nevada lost a true hero," Gronquist said. "His sacrifice and love of country will not be forgotten."

Sgt. 1st Class James "Tre" Ponder III

Ponder was an unlikely hero — "not real tall, somewhat thin, but tough as nails," said his father-in-law, Tom Miller, the mayor of Ponder's hometown in central Tennessee.

"He was a young man who could love his young children and then go out into the desert and fight with a great deal of energy. He's a real warrior, and the warrior in him has made this situation somewhat comforting for the family," Miller said.

Ponder, 36, grew up in Franklin, 15 miles south of Nashville, and enlisted in the Army after a few semesters at Auburn University.

He was a father of two young girls and a flight commander stationed with the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky. He had been overseas for about three weeks when the helicopter was shot down, Miller said.

"My granddaughter just this week asked her mother the question as they were saying their prayers and asking for safety for Tre. She said, 'Mommy, how do we know when Jesus is calling Daddy home to be an angel?' " Miller said. "Faith and knowing that Tre is doing what God wanted him to do is sustaining the family."

Steve Reich

Maj. Steve Reich

Reich carried the U.S. flag for Team USA as its pitcher in the early 1990s, then proved his patriotism on the battlefield in Afghanistan.

"Steve was always able to do everything he tried. People imagined any corner or situation he got himself into he would come out of it," said Richard Sears, a town official in Washington, Reich's hometown in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut.

Reich, 34, was on his fourth tour of duty when the U.S. special forces helicopter he was aboard was shot down, a family spokesman said. He had been a company commander in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., and had been married just four months earlier.

As a young man, Reich had been a star pitcher for the U.S. Military Academy and represented Team USA in 1993 at the World University games on a team that included major leaguers Paul Wilson, Todd Helton, Todd Walker and Dustin Hermanson. He pitched briefly in the Baltimore Orioles system in 1996 before being recalled to active duty.

"You see this big, huge smile of pride," family spokesman Gary Fitzherbert said, remembering Reich carrying the flag at the 1993 games. "That's how we all remember him."

Helton, now a first baseman for the Colorado Rockies, remembered Reich as "one of the nicest guys I ever met."

Michael Russell

Master Sgt. Michael Russell

Russell had been sent to Afghanistan six times since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but he never complained about the deployments.

He "was doing what he absolutely loved to do. It was a dream for him," said his uncle, Kenneth Luehrs of Spotsylvania County, Va.

The 31-year-old flight engineer was a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. He had joined the Army after graduating from North Stafford High School in 1991.

His father, Lee Russell, said he last spoke with his son a few days before his deployment a month and a half ago.

"When he went back this time, he told me they would be really busy," Lee Russell said. On previous missions, he said, his son had been able to call or e-mail once every two weeks.

Michael Russell's duties often kept him away from his two young daughters, his father said, but when he was home, "he was with them all the time."

Petty Officer First Class Jeff Taylor

Taylor was the son of Gail Bowman of Midway, W.Va., and John Taylor of Rainelle, W.Va.

Navy officials told the Bowmans Thursday evening that until all of the bodies at the crash site are positively identified, their son will remain listed as presumed dead.

Taylor, 30, lived in Little Creek, Va. Stepfather Jim Bowman said Taylor grew up in Hotchkiss, W.Va., and went to Independence High School, where he was active in sports and participated in state wrestling tournaments.

Taylor was married and his wife, Erin, remains in Little Creek, Va. They had no children.

He joined the Navy after leaving high school and was a medic on a SEALs quick-response team. He recently re-enlisted for three years and had hoped to go into the Seaman to Admiral officer training program.

"He was just a very good kid," his stepfather said.

The following Advertiser staff writers contributed to this report: David Waite, Will Hoover and Mike Gordon. Also used were reports from the following media organizations: The Associated Press; KHOU-TV; The Register-Herald in Beckley., W.Va.; The Bulletin in Bend, Ore.; and The Buffalo (N.Y.) News.