Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 19, 2008

Tahlequah couple's son one of 7 killed in Iraq chopper crash

A local couple is mourning the loss of their son after a military helicopter he was on board crashed Thursday in Iraq.

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS — A local couple is mourning the loss of their son after he was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq Thursday morning.

Officials with Tahlequah Public Schools confirmed Thursday and Friday that Corry Edwards, 38, of the Fort Worth, Texas, area, died in the crash that also killed three of his fellow Texas National Guardsmen and three members of the Oklahoma National Guard.

Edwards’ parents, Charlie and Glenda Hamilton, live in the Tahlequah area, where Glenda is an employee with the Tahlequah school district. The Hamiltons were notified of their son’s death Thursday morning.

Edwards was a husband and father of two young boys, and lived in the Kennedale area outside Fort Worth.

An announcement on the Kennedale, Texas, Independent School District Web site Friday said the school would lower its flags in honor of Edwards, whose boys attend school there. It also states Edwards was a Warrant Officer I.

The seven men were on board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, one of four that were flying in formation from Kuwait to the U.S. military base at Balad, according to a report from the Associated Press. It crashed shortly after midnight Thursday in the desert approximately 60 miles west of Basra, a military official told the AP.

A military spokesman told AP that it does not appear the crash was caused by hostile activity, but instead by possible mechanical failure.

As of press time Friday, the military had not released names or hometowns of those killed in the crash, pending notification of next of kin, though some media had reported the names of the three Oklahoma casualties. An Oklahoma National Guard statement said the three Oklahoma guardsmen were part of Detachment 1, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation from Lexington.

“Our casualty assistance teams are currently with our family members,” Maj. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Oklahoma National Guard adjutant general, said in a press release Thursday.

AP reports out of Texas on Friday said that the four Texas guardsmen were part of the 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, based at the old Naval Air Station Dallas, which had deployed to Iraq in late August.

Some 70 military helicopters have crashed in Iraq since 2003, when the U.S. and other forces invaded. More than half of those crashes are believed to have been due to enemy fire.

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