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Families Remember Crash Victims

February 24, 2002

PISGAH, Ala. (AP) _ The family of Army Sgt. Jeremy Foshee, the crew chief of the Army helicopter that went down in the Philippines, says he was anxious to leave the Army as his six-year stint was winding to an end.

``He liked his job but he was ready to get out and come home,″ said his father, Bobby Foshee.

Foshee had been scheduled to be discharged in May. He told his hairstylist while on leave in his northern Alabama hometown of Pisgah to leave it a little longer on top.

``He was sick of it being short,″ said Nickie Robertson, who is also a friend from high school.

The Army made him cut it when he returned in August. When war broke out, the 25-year-old Foshee was held over for two additional years and sent with the special forces units training Philippine soldiers to fight Muslim extremist rebels.

The Army released the names of the 10-person MH-47E Chinook crew, but has not released the identities of three bodies found Friday after the helicopter plunged into deep water before dawn. The cause of the crash remained unknown, but early investigations focused on mechanical failure.

Philippine gunboats searched the Bohol Sea on Saturday for the seven still missing. While hope for survivors dwindled, Army officials said they were not abandoning rescue efforts because the crew had been trained in long-term water survival.

Darnell Gorham, Foshee’s 12th-grade economics teacher, said she had tried to talk him out of joining the Army. When she learned that Foshee’s helicopter had crashed, she immediately went over to his family’s home.

``He was patriotic to the point that he was willing to give up his life,″ she said. ``He was American down to the bone.″

In southwestern Ohio, the families of two other crew members remembered their lost loved ones.

Sheila McDaniel, of Fort Jefferson, shared photographs with her family Friday of her son, Air Force Master Sgt. William ``Bub″ McDaniel II, 36, one of the two para-rescue jumpers doing anti-terrorism exercises with the helicopter crew.

His wife, Debbie McDaniel, who is expecting the couple’s second child, is in Japan, where she and Bub had lived a little more than a year.

``He was doing what he wanted to do,″ William McDaniel said of his son. ``He would give his life to save your life,″ he said.

In Franklin, Steve Robinson, the father-in-law of Army Capt. Bartt D. Owens, said an Army colonel broke the news to the family early Friday. Owens’ wife, Leah, and their two children have been staying with the Robisons while Owens was deployed overseas.

Former teachers said Owens, the senior class president, was a special student.

``He knew how to push others to succeed, and it is not hard to understand how he succeeded in the military. He just knew how to make people better,″ said Steve Peters, who coached Owens in track and cross country. ``He wasn’t the fastest guy, but he made everyone better because he was there.″

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