NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Major John C. Spahr, 42, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, died May 2, 2005, from injuries received when the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft he was piloting apparently crashed in Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. His unit was embarked aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.
Former Blue Hen dies in crash in Iraq
From staff and wire reports
5 May 2005
Cherry Hill, New Jersey – Major John Charles Spahr, a Marine Corps pilot, New Jersey native, and University of Delaware alumnus, was little more than a month shy of ending his second tour of duty in Iraq.
The 18-year Marine Corps veteran was soon to be promoted to lieutenant colonel, relatives said, and looked forward to returning to his home in San Diego and seeing his 9-year-old daughter.
Spahr, 42, was one of two pilots to die in what officials have described as a midair collision Monday evening. Each pilot was flying a single-seat F/A-18 Hornet fighter when radio contact was lost.
Spahr completed a bachelor's degree in physical education at UD, where he also was a quarterback on the football team. He went on to earn a master's degree there in exercise physiology. But Stephen Spahr said his brother was fascinated by the idea of flight, and joined the Marines at 24.
Former Delaware football coach Tubby Raymond, who hadn't spoken to Spahr in many years but knew he was a Marine, was saddened to learn that he had died.
“He was a great kid,” said Raymond, who retired as Delaware coach after the 2001 season. “He really had two lives for us, one where he was a very efficient backup quarterback and the other [as a starter] in which things didn't go well for him. But he was always a class man. He was your quintessential Marine — clean-cut, straightforward. I couldn't fault him for anything.”
Spahr's remains were scheduled to arrive today at Dover Air Force Base, where an autopsy will be performed to try to help determine what happened 30,000 feet in the air half a world away.
His brother said Spahr never expressed fear or doubt about his mission.
“He believed in his commander in chief. He said, ‘My boss says I go, I go,' ” his brother said.
“He enjoyed flying that plane and was going to make a career of it,” Stephen Spahr said. “He did make a career of it, but it was cut short.”
Spahr is survived by his daughter, mother, brother, four sisters and much extended family. Relatives said he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but funeral arrangements were incomplete.
SPAHR, JOHN CHARLES
LTCOL US MARINE CORPS
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/09/1963
DATE OF DEATH: 05/02/2005
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8183
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard