Vermont Neighbor Among Those Dead in Blackwater Blackhawk Helicopter Crash

[Ed. note: Cross posted at our Vermont sister blog, Vermont: Now and Zen.]

I mentioned on Wednesday about the two downed Blackhawks in Iraq (there may have been three down, actually, because Blackwater alone may have lost two with one crew being summarily executed). Now I learn the story hits closer to home.

From the Times Argus (E Montpelier is my neck of the proverbial frozen woods):

A Vermonter who graduated from U-32 High School was one of the five Blackwater security employees that died Tuesday morning when their helicopter went down in Baghdad.

Casey Casavant, 36, played soccer, hockey and lacrosse and was a cowboy at heart, according to his sister, Kristen.

"He was just fun-loving, smart-alecky; one of the funniest people you'd ever meet," she said in a telephone interview from Montana, where her family moved when Casey was 6 years old.

The second-to-last child of four, Casavant moved back to East Montpelier with his brother to live with his father when he was in the seventh grade, Kristen said.

Casavant graduated from U-32 in 1989 and went on to Norwich University for approximately a year before joining the Air National Guard, then the Air Force, and the Army, eventually becoming an Army Ranger.

"That was his true passion," Kristen said. "He just believed in what he was doing; he believed in protecting his family and country."l
Now, I am NOT pleased with Blackwater; not its leaders, administration, or its sweetheart deal as privitized military black ops/security for the Pentagon. They're doing some terrible things in Iraq.

But this fellow was forced through three tours of duty in Iraq in the Army and only then decided to go to private contractor status under Blackwater (I'm told it's easier to quit the military if you agree to join up with one of the "Christian" mercenary praetorian guard types like Blackwater).

Thus, I view Casavant differently than I would the usual Soldier of Fortune wannabe who joins up for the big money to go play black ops in Iraq.