Carson City father among soldiers killed in helicopter crash
June 4, 2007
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) – The 82nd Airborne Division on Monday identified the five paratroopers killed last week when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, including a Nevadan with three daughters.
They were Chief Warrant Officer Christopher M. Allgaier, 33, of Omaha, Neb.; Staff Sgt. Charlie L. Bagwell, 28, of Lake Toxaway, N.C.; Sgt. Jesse A. Blamires, 25, of West Jordan, Utah; Sgt. Brandon E. Hadaway, 25, of Valley, Ala.; and Chief Warrant Officer Joshua R. Rodgers, 29, of Carson City, Nev.
All were members of the 3rd General Aviation Support Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and were based at Fort Bragg.
Each of the soldiers had children and most had at least one previous deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Allgaier and Rodgers were piloting the helicopter when it crashed, said 82nd Airborne Division spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt.
Rodgers is survived by his wife, Casey Rodgers of Sanford, N.C., and three daughters.
“Josh always talked about his three princesses. He strove to provide them everything they ever needed, and even more,” said Chief Warrant Officer Heath Barrett.
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Rodgers joined the Army in 2000 and died defending what he believed in, Barrett said.
“He died protecting those he loved most in this world. Josh died being the best soldier he knew how to be,” Barrett said.
U.S. military officials have said initial reports suggested the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade, but that enemy fire was one of several possible reasons for the crash in volatile Helmand Province, in the southern part of the country. A Briton and a Canadian were killed along with the five Americans.
“Their courage and dedication will never be forgotten, and we will honor them by continuing our commitment to supporting the Afghan people and government while fighting the War on Terror,” Army Col. Kelly Thomas, the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade’s commander, said in a statement.
Allgaier, whose wife and three daughters live in Spring Lake, N.C., served in Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2005 with the Company C 159th Aviation Regiment.
“Losing Chris will definitely leave a void in the aviation community that can’t be filled,” said Chief Warrant Officer Paul Wetzel, who worked with Allgaier over the past five years.
Bagwell, who was a standout high school athlete from Transylvania County in western North Carolina, joined the Army in 1998 and served in Iraq in 2005. His wife, Lorelie, lives in Fayetteville, N.C. He is also survived by a son, Preston Owen.
Blamires, who served in Iraq in 2005, had a lifelong dream to become an astronaut, said Staff Sgt. Ronald E. Walton.
“He loved talking about the stars,” Walton said.
Blamires also cared deeply for his wife, Kimberly and daughters Kalli and Danika of Fort Bragg, Walton said.
Hadaway, who also served in Iraq in 2005, joined the Army in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Rachel, of Fort Bragg and leaves behind a stepson and two sons.
Walton described him as “a big ol’ teddy bear” and said he was always “joking and having fun with the guys.”