Sunday, August 26, 2007

Josh Flynn remembered

It happens often. A student loves fun more than books. After he barely graduates, joining the military is among his few options.

And there he blossoms.

That's the story of Chief Warrant Officer Paul Josh Flynn, 28, of Gibsonville. After 10 stellar years in the Army, he was killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash in Iraq. All 14 soldiers aboard the Black Hawk helicopter were killed.

"He just did enough to get by in high school," said his father, R. Deleno Flynn , Gibsonville's town manager. "The Army got him focused."

After Flynn joined as a private, the Army saw potential and motivation and later sent him to warrant officer and flight schools. He became a helicopter pilot. His father says his grades in aviation school ranked among the top in his class.

It's not clear if Flynn was piloting the aircraft when it went down in Multaka, Iraq . Also on board was Capt. Corry Tyler , 29, a West Point graduate who was an Army aviation officer. He and Flynn belonged to the 4th squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Flynn's father had talked by phone with his son — his only child — Sunday night. The younger Flynn was on his first tour in Iraq , having arrived in June.

"He was excited to be there. He was enjoying it and liked being in the Army," Deleno Flynn said, adding his son planned a career in the Army.

Josh Flynn told his father he had been flying so many missions he expected to soon accumulate 500 hours of flight time. He hoped the flight time would benefit him when it came to promotion.

More than the Army, his father says, Josh Flynn loved his 6-year-old son, Morgan , who lives in Clarksville, Tenn. , near Fort Campbell, Ky . Josh Flynn met and married Morgan's mother when he was stationed at Fort Campbell. They later divorced.

"We were proud of him. The whole town was," said Cmdr. Euell "Buzz" Griggs, of Gibsonville VFW Post No. 2972 , of which Flynn was a member. "The whole town of Gibsonville is affected by his loss.

"Josh was a true American. He loved what he was doing, and he loved his country," Griggs said.

Wesley Jarrett, who attended Eastern Guilford High with Flynn and now teaches at Northwest Middle School, said: "He was just a great guy, down to earth, who would do anything for you."

He says Flynn was at a loss about what to do when he graduated from Eastern, "and the Army proved a perfect fit."

Deleno Flynn said a service for his son will be held next week in Clarksville, Tenn.

That will be followed later by a funeral at Gibsonville United Methodist Church , with burial in Gibsonville Cemetery.

From the News Record

The Triad is mourning the loss of one its heroes. The only son of Gibsonville town manager Deleno Flynn, Chief Warrant Officer Josh Flynn was one of 14 U.S. soldiers killed in a black hawk helicopter crash this week.

"He was, you know I know he had a lot of things weren't great but for us he was great," says a weeping Patsy Flynn, Josh’s mother.

Ten years in the army, Flynn had only been in Iraq for 2.5 months when the black hawk he was piloting went down during a night-time operation.

"We'll probably never get over it, how he says mom...and stuff," explains both his parents, Deleno and Patsy.

Flynn went straight to the army after graduating from Eastern Guilford High. "Well if that's was what he wanted to do I was okay with it, kinda scared," says Mrs. Flynn about her son’s decision to enlist.

His parents have honest, but fond memories of those days. "He was care-free...not very good...he just barely got out [of school]"

But the Flynn's say their son excelled in flying a helicopter after graduating from flight school in February of 2004. A love shared by Josh's now 6-year old son Morgan.

"He just called me to tell me that his daddy had gotten killed in a helicopter crash and he was sorry and that tore me up," says Deleno, about talking to the 6-year old after Josh’s death.

Known as fun loving and having lots of friends; friends that will now bring Josh back home. "And they were in Iraq together and he's gonna escort the body back, that was there pact, you know," as Mr. Flynn drops his head in sadness.

An endowment has been set up in Josh’s honor to benefit his son. If you would like to contribute to the fund, it can be done at any Fidelity Bank of North Carolina. Or the branch in Gibsonville, at 237 East Main Street. Just let them know it's for the "CWO Josh Flynn” fund.

The Flynn family expects Josh's body to return home in the first part of next week. They say they will first have a service in Tennessee. They then plan to lay Josh to rest in Gibsonville by the end of next week. Stay with News 14 Carolina for updates on the times and locations on services to remember Josh.

From News 14

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul "Josh" Flynn sped into life with his foot on the gas, living in the moment and with each moment to the fullest.

"He told me not to worry about him," said his former wife and still-close friend Dusty Jackson of Clarksville. "If it didn't have a tail rotor, he was going to fly it. If it didn't have a wheel, he was going to fly it. He was a man who did not fear death.

"He lived for the moment, not for the future," Jackson said.

She said Flynn was one of the 14 soldiers killed Wednesday when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed. They had just picked up a group of troopers who had completed a night operation in Tamim province, Iraq.

The military said Thursday that those killed included four air crew members based in Fort Lewis, Wash., and 10 passengers based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.

The 28-year-old was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash., according to a Department of Defense release identifying the 14 soldiers.

Flynn and Jackson have a 6-year-old son, Morgan, who lives with his mother in Clarksville.

Jackson met Flynn at Fort Campbell when he was an 18-year-old soldier and she was 16, the "little sister" of the now-defunct Vizions Car Club. "I see this good looking guy pull up in a red truck and I said, 'Who is THAT?'"

Flynn loved cars. He enjoyed racing in Nashville and Atlanta, and he owned a low-rider truck with nitrous tanks, Jackson said.

He left for Iraq June 4, and had a year and a half ahead of him in this, his first deployment. But his goal when he got back was to be closer to his son — he put in Fort Campbell as his first choice for duty station so he could spend more time with Morgan, Jackson said.

"He was a great man, and a great dad," she said, "and the peace I have in my heart is that he died doing what he loved."

From the Leaf Chronicle

Related Link:
Josh (Paul J.) Flynn dies 'of injuries suffered when his helicopter crashed'