NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
July 02, 2005
DoD Identifies Army and Navy Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of eight soldiers and eight sailors who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Soldiers killed were:
Staff Sergeant Shamus O. Goare, 29, of Danville, Ohio.
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, of Clarks Grove, Minnesota.
Sergeant Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, Florida
Sergeant First Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, of Shelbyville, Indiana
Master Sergeant James W. Ponder III, 36, of Franklin, Tennessee
Major Stephen C. Reich, 34, of Washington Depot, Connecticut
Sergeant First Class Michael L. Russell, 31, of Stafford, Virginia
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, Florida.
All of these soldiers were assigned to the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Air Field, Georgia
Sailors killed were:
Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36, of New Orleans, Louisiana
Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, New Hampshire
Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen, 33, of San Diego, California
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, of Corbett, Oregon
Lieutenant Michael M. McGreevy, Jr., 30, of Portville, New York
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach, Florida.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, 22, of Boulder City, Nevada
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, of Midway, West Virginia
Healy, Patton and Suh were assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Fontan, Kristensen, Lucas, McGreevy and Taylor were assigned to SEAL Team Ten, Virginia Beach, Virginia
All 16 were killed while conducting combat operations when the MH-47 helicopter that they were aboard crashed in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province on June 28, 2005.
For further information related to the Army personnel listed in this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
For further information related to the Navy personnel listed in this release, contact Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs at (619) 437-5133.
At least three local Navy SEALs were among the 16 servicemen killed in Tuesday's MH-47 Chinook helicopter crash into the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan, it was learned Friday.
Navy officials confirmed that eight SEALs and eight Army Special Forces were aboard the helicopter when enemy fighters shot it down with a rocket-propelled grenade. Some of the Navy commandos were from Coranado Naval Amphibious Base near San Diego.
Family members and friends on Friday confirmed the deaths of three SEAL team members from Virginia Beach: Jeffrey Taylor, 30; Michael McGreevy, 30; and Jeffrey Lucas, 33. McGreevy was an officer and the others were enlisted.
Commander Jeff Bender, a spokesman for the Navy's special warfare command in San Diego, said all the casualties will be officially identified after families have been notified.
It was the largest number of casual ties suffered by the SEALs since the elite unit was formed in 1962, according to Bender and other military officials.
In Afghanistan, U.S. forces desperately scoured rugged Afghan mountains Friday for an elite American military team missing in the same area where a U.S. helicopter was shot down.
A purported Taliban spokesman claimed militants captured one of the men.
U.S. forces were using “every available asset” to search for the missing men, U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jerry O'Hara said.
“Until we find our guys, they are still listed as unaccounted for and everything we got in that area is oriented on finding the missing men,” he said.
The missing troops are a small team from the special operations forces, said military officials, speaking Friday on the condition of anonymity because rescue operations were still under way.
Although the team has been missing since Tuesday, the military had refrained from discussing their situation to prevent the Taliban from setting out in search of them.
The downed helicopter had been trying to “extract the soldiers” Tuesday when it went into the mountains near Asadabad, close to the Pakistani border, O'Hara said.
The Taliban's claim to having kidnapped one of the men came from purported spokesman Mullah Latif Hakimi. “One high-ranking American has been captured in fighting in the same area as the helicopter went down,” he told The Associated Press. “I won't give you any more details now.”
Reacting to the claim, O'Hara said, “We have no proof or evidence indicating anything other than the soldiers are missing.”
Back in the United States, friends and family described Taylor, who grew up in West Virginia, as a quiet, country boy with a love for hunting and his dogs.
Erin Taylor, his wife, said in an e-mail to The Virginian-Pilot that the two met five years ago and recently married. Taylor said her husband was “honest, compassionate, and giving to a fault.”
“He knew his place was fighting side by side with his best friends to bring peace and avoid future attacks on American soil,” she said. “Jeff knew his calling and his place in life.”
Jason Hoffman, a neighbor, got to know the young couple and their three frisky dogs over the past several months. He said Taylor dreamed of opening a shooting school in West Virginia with his re-enlistment bonus.
Robin Hailey , another neighbor, said Taylor asked him and other neighbors to check in on his wife when he went on deployment about 10 weeks ago.
“He was a humble, honest man,” he said.
McGreevy grew up in Portville, New York, a hamlet 80 miles south of Buffalo. Kevin Curran , his high school principal, said McGreevy was a top athlete and scholar who went on to graduate from the Naval Academy in 1997.
“I called a retired teacher who knew Mike when he was here and the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘He's the best we ever had,' ” Curran said Friday in a telephone interview.
McGreevy ran track, setting a school record for the 800-meter run, wrestled, and played soccer and youth ice hockey.
“We had a teacher go through the yearbook and just put Post-its on pages where his picture was,” Curran said. “He was involved in everything: Student Council, National Honor Society, clubs, athletics.”
Friends gathered near the McGreevy house Friday afternoon to remember the neighbor who helped fix their fences, jogged through the streets with his infant daughter in a stroller and mowed his lawn in gym shorts and combat boots.
His mother, Patty, recently moved to Virginia Beach to be closer to Michael; his wife, Laura; and their 1-year-old daughter.
When at home, he spent much of his time doting on his daughter. “He valued those moments,” said Sherry Snyder, a neighbor. “I don't think there's anything Mike regretted.”
Lieutenant Michael M. McGreevy graduated from the Naval Academy and went on to become members of the SEALs, one of the elite fighting forces in the world.
Lieutenant McGreevy, who was the Naval Academy class of 1997's secretary, not only was popular, but
also displayed scholarly aptitude, friends said.
While in high school in Portville, New York, Lieutenant McGreevy wanted to take state Regents exam in German – only his school didn't offer the language. He bought German books and taught himself so well, he passed the exam.
Gary Swetland, Lieutenant McGreevy's former high school track coach, recalled the young man as one of
the most determined people he ever met.
He said Lieutenant McGreevy would run more than 3 miles to school each morning, to be there by 6 a.m. so that he could get in a session of strength building before classes started.
“He grew from a thin-as-a-rail, somewhat awkward teen, to an absolute physical stud of a man,” said Mr. Swetland, who kept in touch with McGreevy and attended his graduation from the Naval Academy.
“You felt compelled to stand and salute” when he entered a room, Mr. Swetland said.
Military friends of McGreevy described him as the embodiment of American ideals.
“Hold him up as high as you can – he was a great American and a great person,” said Marine Captain Aaron Shelley of San Diego, California, McGreevy's friend and freshman year roommate at the academy. “He did well in everything I saw him do – at the same time, he was very, very humble about it and was always ready to help others.”
McGreevy finished first in his SEAL class.
He had been in Afghanistan since early April and is survived by his wife, Laura, and 14-month-old daughter, Molly, his mother Patricia Mackin and father Michael McGreevy Sr.
“He died doing what he always wanted to do,” said former Marine Captain. Thomas Wagner, McGreevy's classmate at the academy and the president of the Class of 1997.
A memorial service for all of the SEALs who died in the crash will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia, a Navy spokesman said.
A private funeral for McGreevy is tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at St. John the Apostle Church in Virginia Beach.
Navy Lieutenant Michael M. McGreevy Jr., 30, of Portville, New York; assigned to SEAL Team 10, Virginia Beach, Virginia; died June 28, 2005, when an MH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed while ferrying personnel to a battle against militants in eastern Afghanistan.
NOTE: Lieutenant McGreevy is scheduled to be laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 20 October 2005.
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