Charlie L. Bagwell – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

The Department of Defense announced today the death of five soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 30, 2007, in Upper Sangin Valley, Afghanistan, when their helicopter crashed apparently due to enemy fire. They were assigned to the 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Killed were:

Chief Warrant Officer Christopher M. Allgaier, 33, of Omaha, Nebraska
Chief Warrant Officer Joshua R. Rodgers, 29, of Carson City, Nevada
Staff Sergeant Charlie L. Bagwell, 28, of Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Sergeant Jesse A. Blamires, 25, of West Jordan, Utah
Sergeant Brandon E. Hadaway, 25, of Valley, Alabama

Rosman High School graduate Charlie Bagwell was one of five 82nd Airborne Division soldiers killed this week when a helicopter went down over southern Afghanistan, his father said Friday.

A chaplain and another officer from Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, the home of the 82nd, came to the family's home about 6 p.m. Thursday to tell them about his son's death, Lane bagwell said.

“You know the risks when they go. You just think it isn't going to happen to you or yours,” his father said. “I knew there was always that possibility.”

The Fort Bragg officials told him the CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down Wednesday by a rocket-propelled grenade, bagwell said.

U.S. military officials have said enemy fire was one possibility, but they were not certain why the helicopter crashed and were still investigating. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Bagwell, a Staff Sergeant, was a mechanic and crew chief. He is survived by his parents, including mother, Judith, and sister, Sarah. He had an 8-year-old autistic son, Preston Owen, with a girlfriend, Amanda Galloway, who has since married, his father said.

Classmates voted Bagwell, who was a junior varsity basketball player and varsity football center, most athletic in 1997, his senior year.

Football coach Dan Essenberg remembered a pugnacious player.

“I've coached a lot of kids, but Charlie's one you ain't going to forget,” Essenberg said. “He wasn't blessed with tremendous speed, but he was a hard-working kid.”

After school, bagwell worked briefly as a carpenter but already had plans to join the military, said people who knew him.

“He graduated, and he didn't want to go to college, and there wasn't nothing to do around here, no jobs,” his father said.

In 2005, bagwell served in Iraq. He had been in Afghanistan since 2005 and was assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-82, which is built around the 82nd's 4th Brigade Combat Team.

The helicopter went down in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province, killing the American soldiers and two others on board – a Briton and a Canadian.

Shortly before the crash, the twin-rotor helicopter had dropped off at least 30 paratroopers from the 82nd in an air assault on a Taliban position. The assault came on the first day of a new joint NATO-Afghan operation to force Taliban fighters out of the northern part of the province.

Bagwell last talked to his parents the day after Mother's Day.

He rarely said much when they talked, “but he said he had some stories to tell us when he got back,” his father said.

His parents were not aware that a helicopter had gone down or that the 82nd was involved until the Thursday visit.

In April, nine paratroopers died when a pair of truck bombs destroyed their patrol headquarters in Iraq's Diyala province. It was largest single loss of life for the division since Vietnam. And on Monday, the Army said three 82nd Airborne soldiers were killed in a weekend bombing in Iraq.

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