Thursday, February 15, 2007

Travis D. Pfister killed in helicopter crash

RICHLAND — A Marine killed when a helicopter crashed northwest of Baghdad was set to return home next month from his third tour in Iraq.

Sgt. Travis D. Pfister, 27, of Richland, was one of five Marines and two Navy medics who died last Wednesday when their CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed in Al Anbar province, the Department of Defense said in a statement Monday.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, although military officials last week said early indications were that the CH-46 loss was due to mechanical failure.

An Iraqi air force officer said the CH-46 had been shot down.

Pfister was assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

As a boy, he often visited a local military surplus store, his dad, Richard Pfister said.

“He loved all that stuff. I saw [when he was] 7 that he’d be in the service for life,” said his stepmother, Jackie Pfister.

Pfister graduated from Hanford High School in 1997 and enlisted in the Marine Corps the following year.

He was married to Jennifer, also a Marine.

Pfister’s family said in Iraq he helped transport sick and wounded, and often volunteered for extra flights.

A week before he died, the Marine wrote an e-mail to his mom, Lorrie Tallett of Kennewick, saying he’d taken more than 20 people to the hospital for urgent medical care this month alone.

“Things are going well, though just waiting to come home,” he wrote. “I love you guys and will see you all soon.”

From the Evergreen