Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class Jody Egnor of Liberty Townshio, Ohio, died with nine other servicemen in the crash of a Chinook helicopter crash off the Philippines February 21, 2002, during a training mission. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Soldier's legacy: Comfort for other parents
They give directions that lead to their home and their hearts. “It's the corner house,” say Roger and Margaret Egnor. “The one with the flag at half-staff.”
The flag outside their home in Butler County's Liberty Township, Ohio, honors their 32-year-old son, Jody.
Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class Jody Egnor died a month ago fighting the war on terrorism.
“I lost my best friend,” Roger admitted.
“I lost my baby,” Margaret whispered.
Sitting side-by-side on their sofa in a living room dominated by photos of their son's smiling face, they countered their losses by counting their blessings.
They draw comfort from their faith. It gives them the strength and solace to reminisce as well as look ahead.
Their faith helps them plan a memorial service for Jody, set for 2 p.m. April 6 at Bethany Baptist Church. Donations to a memorial fund established in Jody's name at First Southwestern Bank will benefit the church's youth groups and foreign missionaries.
Rather than dwell on their son's death, Roger and Margaret remember the good times.
“I have 32 years of happy memories with Jody,” Roger said.
He coached Jody's baseball teams for 10 years, starting when his son was 6. Three years ago, when Jody was on leave from the Army, they put a new roof on the Liberty Township house. Every time they parted, father and son said: “I love you.”
“Nothing can change those memories,” Roger said. “Or take them away from me.”
The war on terrorism took Jody away from his parents. His Army Chinook helicopter caught on fire February 22, 2002, during a pre-dawn, anti-terrorism mission in the Philippines.
With the 1988 Lakota High School graduate at the controls, the burning chopper crashed into shark-infested waters and exploded on impact.
Nine other soldiers were on board. No one survived.
Jody left behind his wife, Janet, at their home in Woodlawn, Tennessee. And his mom and dad at the corner house with the flag at half-staff.
Margaret and Roger share their home with Robin, Jody's older sister.
“She'll be 40 this year,” Margaret said. “She's been disabled since suffering an accident at birth.”
The Egnors refuse to be bitter over their children's fates.
“God never gives you more than you can bear,” Roger said.
He remembered Robin's doctors saying she would never live to see her first birthday.
“Look at all the years, all the memories we have had together with this beautiful girl,” Roger said. “She's a miracle.”
Roger and Margaret know they will not be the last parents to lose a child to terrorism.
They have been thinking about what they would do or say to comfort other parents.
“First, I would give them a hug,” Roger said.
“I would tell them not to give up,” Margaret added. “God's not finished with you on earth.”
Roger would urge them “to concentrate on your memories. That will keep you going on earth so you can spend eternity with your son or daughter in heaven.
“Remember the hugs. The kisses. The “I love yous.'”
Margaret and Roger will remember Jody's favorite saying. When something would go wrong, he'd always say, quickly, as if it were one word and he was certain of the outcome:
“It'll be allright.”
On bad days, Jody's mom and dad say that to themselves. They believe his words will come true.
FORT CAMPBELL — An overflow crowd of several hundred soldiers and their families remembered eight members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment yesterday during a solemn memorial service.
The men perished at sea last week when an MH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed during a training mission off the coast of the Philippines.
The eight were members of the elite unit called the Night Stalkers, so named because their specialty is flying at night with the aid of night vision goggles.
”They represented all that was good in life and the tremendous cost of enduring our freedom,” Major Dean Heithamp, acting commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, said at the morning service, which included eulogies for each of the dead Fort Campbell soldiers.
On a stage, dark-green flight helmets with night vision goggles attached were perched on top of assault rifles. On the floor next to the rifles were black combat boots, one pair to honor each soldier.
A 21-gun salute and taps by a bugler from the 101st Airborne Division band followed the ceremony at Fort Campbell's Dreyer Field House.
The Chinook, a long-distance, heavy-lift helicopter, crashed off Negros Island in the southern Philippines during a training mission.
The soldiers were part of a 660-member American force training Philippine soldiers to fight Muslim extremist guerrillas. The 160th SOAR, which provides aviation support for Army Special Forces units, is featured in the new film Black Hawk Down.
Three of the bodies have been recovered.
Night Stalkers lost in the crash were Sergeant Jeremy D. Foshee, 25, of Alabama; Major Curtis D. Feistner, 34, of South Dakota; Captain Bartt D. Owens, 30, of Ohio; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jody L. Egnor, 32, of Ohio; Staff Sergeant James P. Dorrity, 37, of Goldsboro, North Carolina; Staff Sergeant Kerry W. Frith, 37, of Jamesville, Nevada; Staff Sergeant Bruce A. Rushforth Jr., 35, of Massachusetts; and Specialist Thomas F. Allison, 22, of Tacoma, Washington. Two Air Force crewmen from the 353rd Special Operations Group based at Kadena Air Base in Japan, also died in the crash.
U. S. Army Photograph
EGNOR, JODY LYNN
CW2 US ARMY
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 08/26/1988 – 02/22/2002
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/20/1969
DATE OF DEATH: 02/22/2002
DATE OF INTERMENT: 05/08/2002
BURIED AT: SECTION 69 SITE 1925
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