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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Copter landing kills second Isle Marine

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

Maj. Trane McCloud

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Two Hawai'i Marines, including a father of three young children, were among four U.S. service members who drowned in Sunday's emergency water landing of a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter in western Iraq.

Previously identified by family was Maj. Trane McCloud of Elizabethton, Tenn.

The second Hawai'i Marine killed in Sunday's incident has not been identified.

The Pentagon yesterday released the names of two other service members killed in the accident: Air Force Capt. Kermit O. Evans, 31, of Hollandale, Miss.; and Army Spc. Dustin M. Adkins, 22, of Finger, Tenn.

Evans was with a civil engineer squadron and was assigned to Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Adkins was a dental specialist with the 5th Special Forces Group out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

About 1,000 Hawai'i Marines are serving a 7-month tour in the Haditha area of Iraq northwest of Baghdad, where the twin-rotor helicopter experienced a "power malfunction" with 16 service members onboard, the military said.

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, a spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq, said in a press briefing yesterday that the Sea Knight from the San Diego-based 3rd Marine Air Wing made an emergency landing on Lake Qadisiyah.

Losing power, the helicopter touched down on the lake as a precautionary measure and the crew chiefs and passengers exited out the back, Caldwell said.

The pilots stayed on board and had enough power to "surf-glide" across the water and up a boat ramp onto shore, he said.

Four of the evacuated personnel drowned, Caldwell said. A Marine was pulled from the water but attempts to resuscitate him failed. The bodies of three missing service members were found in a subsequent search, the military said.

Caldwell said all indications were that the helicopter experienced a mechanical failure and was not involved in any fighting. An investigation is under way.

"So it was really, truly just a power malfunction that occurred, some great pilots doing some terrific flying there that they were able to set it down safely in the water, and amazing that they were able to get it back to shore safely," Caldwell said.

Marine Corps Base Hawai'i yesterday could not confirm the deaths of the two Marines, and the Pentagon as of yesterday evening had not released the names.

Ron McCloud, the father of Trane McCloud, said his son is survived by his wife, Maggie, and three children. A friend who answered the phone at the family's home on O'ahu said Maggie McCloud was not ready to talk with the media.

A St. Anthony School representative said the school was following the family's wishes in not releasing any information.

McCloud served almost 17 years as a Marine, and helped a U.S. congressman to establish a loan forgiveness program for teachers in low-income areas. McCloud had been a Military Fellow assigned to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

Seventeen Hawai'i Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment have been killed in Iraq since late September, representing an increase over some past deployments by Hawai'i units.

The unit preceding the 2nd Battalion, the Hawai'i-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, lost 11 and three Marines from elsewhere who were attached to the unit over seven months.

Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.