Thursday, August 23, 2007

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

Gibsonville native Josh Flynn was among 14 U.S. soldiers killed Wednesday when a Black Hawk helicopter they were riding in went down in northern Iraq.

His father, Gibsonville Town Manager Deleno Flynn, confirmed the death of his 28-year-old son.

“[Casualty officers] came to work and notified me,” he said Thursday. “Besides that, all I know is what I’ve seen on TV.”

Flynn, a chief warrant officer, leaves behind a 6-year-old son and an ex-wife, both of whom live in Clarksville, Tenn.

Flynn was on his first tour in Iraq. He had been in the Army 10 years, and had been piloting helicopters for the past few years, his father said.

When the helicopter crashed his son was either the pilot or co-pilot, his father added.

Mechanical failure led to the downing of the aircraft, initial reports from the U.S. Central Command show.

“The whole town is devastated,” said Gibsonville Mayor Lenny Williams.

Williams sought and received permission from Gov. Mike Easley’s office to lower the town’s flag to half staff.

Tim Riggs, a science teacher at Eastern Guilford High School, said he has fond memories of when Josh was a student of his in the mid-’90s.

“He taught me how to laugh as a teacher, how to have a good sense of humor,” Riggs recalled.

Flynn would often stop by to say hello to Riggs whenever he was in town. “It hit me real hard,” he said.

From the Burlington Times-News