Saturday, July 07, 2007

Scott A.M. Oswell dies 'of wounds suffered when his helicopter struck a power line'

A 16-year military veteran who was an Army "Kiowa" helicopter pilot from Fort Lewis died in Iraq on Independence Day when his helicopter struck a power line, the Defense Department said Thursday.

Chief Warrant Officer Scott A.M. Oswell, 33, whose home was listed only as Washington state, was killed in Ninewah province in northern Iraq, military officials reported. One soldier was injured.

Oswell served with the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry based at the Army post south of Tacoma. The 600-member squadron arrived at Fort Lewis in 2005 and Oswell arrived in August 2006 at Fort Lewis as an instructor pilot.

The squadron, which deployed to Iraq in May, is part of the 4,000-member 4th Stryker Brigade sent to Iraq in April.

Oswell's family declined to comment.

A Christian and Missionary Alliance Web site says he is the son-in-law of Fred and Marilyn Smith, missionaries and employees with the organization's national office in Colorado Springs.

Oswell's wife, Sherry, is the couple's daughter. Oswell leaves behind three children ages 13, 11 and 4 as well, the site said.

According to the site, Oswell's co-pilot survived the crash. Funeral arrangements are being made to bury him at Logan Cemetery in Colorado.

Oswell joined the military in 1991 and became an Army warrant officer in 2001, serving at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. By 2005, he was an instructor pilot.

Oswell's many awards indicate he may first have been a Marine, according to military record information shared by Fort Lewis. They include not only a Combat Action Badge and two Air Medals, but Army and Navy unit and individual commendation awards -- including an Army commendation medal with "V" for valor -- and Marine Corps and Army good conduct medals.

Oswell is the 65th member of the U.S. armed forces with ties to Washington state to die in the war in Iraq this year, and the 212th since the war began in March 2003.

From the Post Intelligencer