A Rice Lake couple says their son has been killed in a helicopter crash while working in Afghanistan.
Darrell and Jan Walker say their 48-year-old son, Todd, worked for AAR Airlift. He was conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense when the chopper crashed in Helmand Province Monday. All three crew members died. There were no other passengers.
The Walkers say Todd transported ammunition and dignitaries, moved troops from base to base and delivered mail to remote areas in Afghanistan. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (http://bit.ly/zCyjiR ) says he was a 1981 graduate of Rice Lake High School. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Todd Walker of Arkansas packed a lot of life into his 48 years.
The 1981 Rice Lake High School graduate fought forest fires, worked in emergency medical services out of Duluth, Minn., and scouted schools of tuna in the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean – all from his perch as a helicopter pilot.
On Monday, however, Darrell and Jan Walker of Rice Lake received a phone call that their son had died in Afghanistan. The company Todd worked for, Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR Airlift, reported that a helicopter carrying a crew of three employees, including Todd, was involved in an accident in Helmand Province at about 10:45 a.m. Monday.
The team was conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense, according to a news release. All three crew members died; there were no other passengers.
The cause of the accident is under investigation. The terrorist group Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility, Jan Walker said, but that has not been substantiated. Marjan Haqmal, police chief of Nad Ali district in Helmand Province, told The Associated Press the Russian-made aircraft probably went down because of a technical malfunction.
Todd transported ammunition and moved troops from base to base in Afghanistan. He also transported dignitaries, his mother said, and delivered mail to remote areas of the country,
“We’re very proud of him,” she said.
Todd also is survived by a wife and three kids, who were scheduled to arrive late Wednesday in Rice Lake. His body was slated to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware at about the same time, Jan Walker said. She said it will take a few days for him to arrive in Rice Lake. Services will be at Red Cedar Community Church will conduct services.
Jan said one of her son’s passions was arguing about politics.
“(But) mainly I’ll remember his love for hunting and love for the Packers,” she said.
January 18, 2012
A Clay County helicopter pilot was killed this week in a crash in Afghanistan.
Michael Clawson, who worked for AAR Airlift of Chicago, was in Afghanistan doing work for the U.S. Defense Department.
Clawson leaves a wife and five children, said Father John Bamman, OFM Conv., of St. Joseph’s University Parish, where Clawson and his family attended worship services in Terre Haute.
The crash happened in southern Afghanistan on Monday morning. Two other people were killed, all employees of AAR Airlift, which is a unit of Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR Corp.
NATO forces reportedly have secured the area of the crash and were attempting to determine what happened, according to news reports.
Funeral arrangements are pending this morning