NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1232-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Captain Kermit O. Evans, 31, of Hollandale, Mississippi, died when the U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 helicopter he was riding in made an emergency water landing in western Al Anbar Province, December 3, 2006.
He was assigned to the 27th Civil Engineer Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, and was deployed with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Base, Iraq.
The incident is under investigation.
Mother fondly remembers son
Margaret Evans said she plans to keep a promise her son made to his wife when they were married. “We have to try to keep that smile on her face. He promised her he would keep her smiling,” she said.
Captain Kermit O. Evans, 31, a Cannon airman serving in Iraq, was killed around 4:30 a.m. New Mexico time Sunday when a helicopter he was riding in made an emergency landing over water. He was one of four servicemen who died in the accident. There were 12 survivors, the military said.
Evans leaves behind a wife, Pernetha Evans and 13-month old son, Kermit Jr., currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she works in a lab. Pernetha Evans could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Margaret Evans of Hollandale, Miss., said Tuesday her son was happy to be serving in Iraq although he was sad to leave his wife and young son. “He said he was so happy there — he really enjoyed it there. He said to me ‘it comes with being in the military mama’”, she said.
“I thank the Lord for the 31 years we had (with him).”
The youngest of two boys, Kermit Evans was described by his mother as an avid sports fan and athlete who was pleasant and giving — someone who liked to help other people.
He also had an inquisitive personality that probably landed him in his military career as an explosives ordnance disposal technician dismantling explosive devices, she said, noting that he always asked questions and examined how things worked.
“He was always taking things loose and putting them back together. He liked to see how things work,” she said laughing.
In the spring, she said she visited her son at Cannon and got to watch an explosives demonstration his flight conducted.
Seeing first-hand the professionalism and skill he and his fellow technicians had in their work put her fears for his safety at ease, she said.
Evans said she last spoke to her son Nov. 24 when he called on her birthday. “I was just like a little happy saint,” she said. “He told me that he was enjoying himself and not to just sit around the house (on my birthday).”
Evans had recently received word from the military he would be assigned to Cannon for the next three to four years, she said.
Happy with the news, she said her son and daughter-in-law were planing to shop for a home in Clovis when he returned in January when he returned from Iraq.
“He loved Cannon,” she said.
Born: April 15, 1975, Hollandale, Mississippi
Hometown: Hollandale, Mississippi
Died: Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006, in Iraq
Entered Air Force: August 2001
Unit: 27th Fighter Wing, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, flight commander
Specialty: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Deployed assignment: 732 Expeditionary Mission Support Group, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Detachment 5 Weapons Inspection Flight, Camp Victory, Baghdad.
Combat service: Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nev. — Noon (PST) Thursday.
Hollandale, Miss. — 1 p.m. (CST) Saturday
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. — 9 a.m. Tuesday (EST)
An airman who died after a helicopter crash in Iraq will be honored Saturday with a memorial service in his home town.
Captain Kermit O. Evans, 31, of Hollandale, died when the U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 helicopter he was riding in made an emergency water landing in western Al Anbar Province, December 3, 2006, according to a report from the military.
Stars and Stripes reported today that Evans and three others who were evacuated as a precaution drowned in the incident.
Funeral services for Evans will be held Thursday at noon at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His wife, Ternetha, and their 13-month-old son, Kermit Jr,. are residents of Las Vegas; his parents, Charles and Margaret Evans are retired teachers in Hollandale.
A memorial service for Evans will be held at Simmons High School Gymnatorium in Hollandale at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
He will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. next week.
A graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in chemical engineering, Evans was the head of the bomb squad at the 27th Civil Engineer Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, and was deployed with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Base, Iraq.
He was serving his second tour in Iraq. Margaret Evans said her son enlisted in the Air Force in August 2001 and was promoted to Captain in November 2005.
“He had received orders about three weeks ago that he was going back to Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis (N.M.), and they were so excited,” Margaret Evans said.
Kermit Evans was expected to return to Cannon in January and be redeployed in February, said Cannon spokesman Sergeant Brandon Seals.
Evans was one of four who died Sunday when their Sea Knight helicopter plunged into Lake Qadisiyah in volatile Anbar Province.
“The thoughts and prayers of the women of the 27th Fighter Wing are with the Evans family as they grieve the tragic loss of their loved one,” said Col. Valentino Bagnani, 27th Fighter Wing vice commander.
Lieuetnant Colonel Stephen Wood, 27th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, called Evans an “outstanding leader and distinguished officer.”
“His untimely death in the service of his country has affected us all,” Wood said.
The military aircraft was the second in a week to go down in Anbar, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents, although the military said mechanical problems rather than gunfire had forced the emergency landing on Sunday.
“The pilots maintained control of the aircraft the entire time,” the military said.
Margaret Evans said she understood her son was being transported back to his base “after he had gone to check on other men” in his unit.
A Marine was pulled from the water but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The bodies of three missing service members were found in a subsequent search, the military said. Twelve other passengers survived.
JACKSON, Mississippi – Air Force Captain Kermit Evans was the kind of man willing to help anyone who asked and dedicated much of himself to mentoring young men, his family said.
The Hollandale native was counting down the last months of his second tour in Iraq when he died Sunday in a helicopter crash. He was scheduled to come home in January.
Instead, he'll be buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
“He was kind, gentle, happy-go-lucky and ready to help anybody,” said his mother, Margaret Evans, of Hollandale. “He liked mentoring young men. He liked to help them.”
Memorial services are planned for noon Thursday at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and Saturday at Simmons High School in Hollandale, Mississippi.
Margaret Evans said her son had played football and ran track at the school and later played softball. He was a chemical engineering major at Mississippi State University before joining the Air Force in 2001.
“He's a young man that the world is going to miss,” Margaret Evans said. “According to the mother of the young man he mentored, he called them when he was in Iraq the first time to check on them and before he got married, he took his fiance by there to meet them. That made me feel so good.”
Evans, 31, and three others died when a Sea Knight helicopter was forced by a power malfunction to make an emergency landing on Lake Qadisiyah, a huge reservoir behind the hydroelectric dam at Haditha on the Euphrates River in Anbar province, according to the military.
“He had received orders about three weeks ago that he was going back to Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis (N.M.), and they were so excited,” Margaret Evans said.
She said the airman's wife, Pernetha Evans, and the couple's 13-month-old son, Kermit Jr., lived in Las Vegas, where Pernetha Evans worked in a lab.
Kermit's brother is also serving in the Air Force, said Margaret Evans, and a young man he mentored is, too.
Major General William B. Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said Tuesday that the helicopter began to lose power after lifting off from the dam. He said all but the pilot and co-pilot evacuated from the back of the helicopter and it glided across the water and used a boat ramp to get on shore. He said no fighting was going on in the area at the time.
A Marine was pulled from the water but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The bodies of three missing service members were found in a subsequent search, the military said. Twelve other passengers survived. The military has said the incident does not appear to be the result of enemy action and it is under investigation.
The Defense Department said Evans, a civil engineer explosive ordnance flight commander, was assigned to the 27th Civil Engineer Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, and was deployed with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, a unit of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing based at Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Evans family as they grieve the tragic loss of this airman, warrior, husband, father, son, and brother,” Lieutenant General Gary North, commander of U.S. Central Command Air Forces said in a statement. “Anytime we lose an airman, our entire Air Force family feels the loss.”
Captain Kermit O. Evans was everything a wife or a parent could have wished for from a young man.
Evans, 31, of Hollandale died when the U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 helicopter he was riding in made an emergency water landing in western Al Anbar Province, Iraq, on Sunday, according to a report from the military.
But when you look into the history of Evans, it becomes apparent that we lost more than a good military man and soldier. We lost a good human being.
Evans was a success story from the Delta.
He graduated third in his class from Simmons High school and went on to Mississippi State University where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He was the head of the bomb squad at the 27th Civil Engineer Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico, and was deployed with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Base, Iraq.
He was serving his second tour in Iraq and had received orders about three weeks ago reassigning him to Cannon Air Force Base. Evans was expected to return to Cannon in January and be redeployed in February.
By all accounts, Evans was a great dad, who loved and doted on his 13-month-old son Kermit Jr.
Taking politics out of the equations, Evans was a hero and a patriot, a man who served his country to the best of his ability and was a role model for what a military man in the Unites States should be like.
His parents should be proud. They raised a heck of a son.
In fact, we should all be proud. Evans is everything we hold near and dear as Deltans. We can only hope that all of our sons and daughters grow up to be as successful and loved as Evans.
And next week, Evans will join the likes of the Delta's most famous war hero Bobby Henry when he will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
It's a sad time in the Delta as we have lost one our own, but we celebrate Kermit Evans' life as a success story from the Delta and a life that we could only hope to emulate.
If Captain Kermit O. Evans Sr. wasn’t smiling, you knew something was seriously wrong, say those who knew him.
Friends, family and fellow service members at Cannon Air Force Base recalled that smile Friday at a memorial service for the 31-year-old flight commander of a bomb disposal unit stationed at Cannon.
Perneatha Evans, the wife of Capt. Kermit O. Evans Sr., weeps during a memorial service Friday afternoon
at the Cannon Air Force Base Chapel.
Evans died December 3, 2006, in a Marine helicopter crash in the Anbar Province of Iraq. He was on his second stint in Iraq.
His fellow bomb disposal officers recalled during the memorial that Evans got a big smile on his face as soon as he had blown up his first bomb. They said the smile never left because he loved what he was doing.
As the service at Cannon Air Force Base’s Chapel proceeded under the direction of Chaplain Captain Eusebio Rios, a portrait of Evans, dressed in fatigues with that big smile on his face, looked out on the crowd through sprays of red and white carnations.
Evans’ 13-month-old son, Kermit Jr., in the audience for the service along with his mother and other family members, kept his father’s good nature throughout the service, cooing contentedly.
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Wood, 27th Civil Engineer Squadron Commander, said Evans considered the Air Force as a career at a young age. He said Evans had a solid Air Force career as a civil engineer but wanted to do more, and began exploring bomb disposal, a privilege Wood said is reserved for the topnotch performers in civil engineering.
“That top-level stratification was repeated throughout his career,” Wood said.
Wood noted Evans’ volunteer service to local groups including Habitat for Humanity, elementary schools and 4-H groups. He also praised him for his dedication to his personnel.
“Captain Evans set himself apart from other officers,” Wood said.
The commander said he did that through his dedication to his people and sense of humor.
Reflecting on the loss to Cannon and his field of service, Wood said that Evans would be deeply missed.
“He was working to solve Iraq’s toughest problem — roadside bombs — protecting military and civilian lives,” Wood said.
Wood asked the audience to remember Evans as a father, husband, son, brother, friend and leader.
“Remember him for the protection of you and me,” Wood said. “He’s a true American hero.”
Speaking on behalf of Evans’ family, Kervin Evans said the way his brother was being described didn’t quite fit the fellow he knew growing up in the small community of Hollandale, Mississippi.
“As the saying goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I think it took a planet to raise Kermit,” Kervin Evans said. “Kermit maintained his inner child all through life and probably to the last moment.”
Kervin Evans said he and his brother had a long-standing pact never to stay mad at each other more than three hours.
“No matter how mad we made each other, we wouldn’t allow anger to separate us. We had to call each other,” he said. “I advise each and every one of you to do the same for anyone you care for. Because you’re never going to know if you’ll see them again.”
Rios based her message on the book of Nehemiah and pulled the parallels of Nehemiah as builder and warrior when he rebuilt the temple walls in Persia under the constant threat of attack to that of Evans’ life as an engineer and bomb disposal officer.
Rios quoted a famous mountaineer who said, “The greatest award comes only with the greatest commitment.”
“Captain Kermit Evans lived that quote,” Rios said. “He modeled courage, strength and forgiveness. … When he went from standing to moving in a direction — we all wanted to follow.”
During the memorial Evans was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal posthumously. He also earned the Bronze Star and various other decorations during his career. Cannon Air Force Base officers presented his wife , Perneatha Evans, a shadow box with his medals and an American flag.
Born in 1975 in Hollandale, Kermit Evans earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2000 from Mississippi State University. The following year, he entered officer training school at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and received his commission as a second lieutenant in November 2001.
In the second phase of his Air Force career, he entered Explosive Ordnance Disposal school at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. After graduation there he was stationed at Cannon.
Among his crowning achievements at Cannon was his unit earning the Sergeant Stryzak Award as the best EOD flight in Air Combat Command.
Evans is survived by his wife and son of Las Vegas, Nevada, parents, Charles and Margaret Evans, and brother.
Evans was buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
A cassion carries the casket of Air Force Captain Kermit Evans, Hollandale, Mississiippi during funeral
services at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, December 12, 2006
An Air Force honor guard carries the casket of Air Force Capt. Kermit Evans
during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006
Major General Dale Eulberg, left, presents a flag to the parents of Air Force Captain Kermit Evans,
Charles Evans, right, and Margaret Evans, second from right, during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery
Family members of Air Force Captain Kermit Evans stand during the playing of ‘Taps' during
funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery
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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