Ian Desmond Manuel
Chief Warrant Officer, United States Army
Jan 09, 2004
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of four soldiers who were killed when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed January 8, 2004, near Fallujah, Iraq. The soldiers were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Killed were:
Staff Sergeant Craig Davis, 37, of Opelousas, Louisiana. Davis was assigned to the 603rd Transportation Company, 142nd Corps Support Battalion, Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Chief Warrant Officer Philip A. Johnson, Jr., 31, of Alabama. Johnson was assigned to the 571st Medical Company (Air Ambulance), Fort Carson, Colorado.
Chief Warrant Officer Ian D. Manuel, 23, of Florida. Manuel was assigned to the 571st Medical Company (Air Ambulance), Fort Carson, Colorado.
Chief Warrant Officer Aaron A. Weaver, 32, of Florida. Weaver was assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The names of four other soldiers killed in this crash of this UH-60 were released previously today. The name of one soldier has not been released at this time, but will be released when authorized.
The incident is under
Clay (Florida) soldier casualty in copter
It was Christmas Day when he told his mother he missed her, that he loved her and would soon be home. It was Christmas Day when he said she would soon meet his bride-to-be.
And it was Christmas Day when Tita Derrow last heard the joy and warmth and excitement of her son's voice.
Ian Manuel was one of nine soldiers killed during a routine mission in Iraq Thursday. The 23-year-old Army chief warrant officer, who grew up south of Green Cove Springs, was aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Family members said they were told by military officials the aircraft was shot down by enemy fire southwest of Baghdad.
The crash also killed another Florida soldier, Army Chief Warrant Officer Aaron A. Weaver, 32, of Inverness.
Manuel was set to return to Fort Carson, Colorado, sometime in March or April.
"I had been counting the months," Derrow said from her Virginia home Monday.
They also were counting the months to his wedding. Derrow said her son and fiancee, Jill Payton, met and fell in love at Fort Carson and were both in the 571st Medical Company in Iraq. They had planned a small and simple wedding shortly after their return.
It would have been Derrow's first meeting with her new daughter-in-law. Now their first meeting will be at Arlington National Cemetery, though funeral arrangements for Manuel were still pending Monday.
"We're dealing with it as best as we can," his father, Brice Manuel, said from his North Carolina home Monday. "He died flying, something he loved. And he died defending his country and there's not anything much more noble than that."
Ian Manuel was born in Honolulu. He graduated from Clay High School in 1998 and joined the Army in 2000 after working at a Green Cove Springs golf course, then at a mortgage bank.
In part, it was to continue a family tradition. His father was a Navy man, his grandfather a World War II pilot buried in Arlington National Cemetery. That, and his fascination with helicopters and the sky.
"He was goal-oriented, mature, very much a high-achiever," his father said.
A month ago Thursday, Ian Manuel was transferred from somewhere near the Syrian border to Fallujah, Iraq, his father said. In conversations with him on New Year's Day, he said he was beginning to fly more than usual.
That seemed like a bad sign, Brice Manuel said.
"He didn't even make one month there," he said. "It's a tragedy."
For close high school friend Ryan Cross of Orange Park, the loss was like losing a brother. It was Friday, his 25th birthday, when Cross learned the boy he played ball with was no longer a phone call away.
"It's hard to explain, there's few people like him that's as determined as Ian," Cross said.
Teachers at Clay High recalled Manuel fondly. He was polite and shy and warm -- fitting qualities of one always eager to help gym teachers prepare for class. During lunch period, Manuel was somewhat of a "gym rat," always up for a game of volleyball with coaches, gym teacher Robby Thompson said.
"That's how we got to know him," Thompson said.
Last fall Manuel wrote to him, saying he was interested in becoming a physical education teacher once his service was complete.
"He would have been a great P.E. coach, mostly
because he cared about people," Thompson said. "I can't stress enough that
this was a great kid.
MANUEL, IAN DESMOND (Age 23)
On Thursday, January 8, 2004, Ian died while serving his country in Iraq. Loving son of Brice N. Manuel and his wife, Louise, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Tita C. Derrow and her husband, J.R., of Chesapeake, Virginia. Also surviving is his fiance, Jill Payton and her parents, Bob and Carol Payton of Liberty, Missouri, as well as umerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Friends may call at THE MURPHY FUNERAL HOME OF ARLINGTON, 4510 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, January 22 from 4 p.m. until time of funeral service at 7 p.m.
Interment with full military honors at Arlington
National Cemetery, at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 23, with friends and family
gathering at the Administration Building at 8:30 a.m.
The letter that arrived at Tita Derrow's Chesapeake home on Tuesday was much like all the others.
Here was her son's upbeat voice again, chronicling his life as a helicopter pilot in Iraq. He had recently moved from near the Syrian border to Fallujah, and he had to say, though he lived in a sandbagged tent that looked like a machine gunner's nest, the food was much better. The plastic Christmas tree with the red, white and blue decorations she sent in the care package with the beef jerky was "the perfect touch." And he was counting the days until his tour of duty, which began last April, was finally over. The letter, dated December 20, 2003, ended: "Things are well here, and we're excited about finding out when we are going home for sure."
But it was what that letter could not say, and what Derrow already knew too well, that caused her to break down in sobs when it arrived. It did not portend that her son, Army Chief Warrant Officer Ian D. Manuel, 23, of the 571st Medical Company, would never make it home alive. On January 8, 2004, the Black Hawk helicopter that Manuel was piloting was shot down near Fallujah, killing him and eight other soldiers on board.
"Oh, my God, I cried and cried," Derrow said. "And I'm sure there are going to be more letters coming in after he's gone. I'm sure there are going to be more."
Derrow had another painful reminder of her youngest son yesterday, as he was laid to rest before her in a wooden coffin in the frozen earth of Arlington National Cemetery. Manuel received the military's full burial honors: a horse-drawn caisson carrying the flag-draped coffin, preceded by a color guard, and saluted by seven riflemen and a lone bugler playing taps. About 80 mourners, many bundled in winter coats and wool hats, were buffeted by frigid winds that drowned out the chaplain's words for the reporters kept at a distance. Manuel was the 46th soldier killed in Iraq to be buried in the cemetery, a lengthening row of marble headstones marked by fresh wreaths.
The stillness of the moment was a stark contrast to the way Manuel lived his life. Friends and family described a young man who was always on the move, swimming, golfing, playing tennis and volleyball. He grew up the son of a Navy man, Brice Manuel, who took the family to Hawaii, Japan, and later, with Ian, to Florida. At Clay High School near Jacksonville, where he graduated in 1998, Ian Manuel was also continually in motion, in love with the lunchtime volleyball games against the teachers.
"Ian was what we affectionately refer to as a gym rat," said Clay Principal Pete McCabe.
Manuel would come to school early to set up the nets and stay after school to take them down. He was on one of the few teams that could beat the adults, yet his attitude was always respectful, said baseball coach Robby Thompson.
"He always had a smile. He was the first to put all the balls up, and he'd be the first to pick up the equipment. You wouldn't have to tell him. . . . There was no back talk, a real 'yes-sir,' 'no-sir' kid," said Thompson, who received his own letter from Manuel saying he wanted to come back to Clay High to be a physical education teacher after he got out of the military.
"It's just a travesty to lose a young man like him because he was just such a good person," Thompson said.
MANUEL, IAN DESMOND
CW2 US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/01/1980
DATE OF DEATH: 01/08/2004
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 7968
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Posted: 13 January 2004 - Updated: 25 January 2004 Updated: 4 May 2004 Updated: 4 December 2004 Updated: 21 August 2005 Updated: 25 March 2007 Updated: 13 May 2008
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 22 April 2004
Photos By M. R. Patterson, 2 December 2004