Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sean P. Fisher dies 'of injuries suffered when his helicopter crashed'

With her son deploying to Iraq, Maria Fisher wasn't about to let an aching back stop her from dancing with him at his going-away party.

“I said, 'I don't care if I hurt myself, I'm going to dance with my son,' ” Fisher said yesterday as she gazed at his black-and-white dancing shoes in her El Cajon living room. “He promised to dance with me again when he came home.

“That was our last dance.”

Staff Sgt. Sean P. Fisher, 29, was one of five Army soldiers who died Aug. 14 when their helicopter crashed in Al Taqaddum, Iraq. Fisher and the other crew members were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, Task Force 49 in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

This week, Fisher's family and girlfriend, Melissa Volentine, are preparing for a funeral Mass on Friday at St. Kieran's Catholic Church in El Cajon.

Votive candles and American flags line the sidewalk to the apartment Maria Fisher shares with her husband, Walter Fisher. Sean Fisher's black-and-white shoes, his favorite Padres hat and several photos of the young soldier form a sort of shrine on the living room table.

Sean Fisher grew up in East County and graduated from Granite Hills High School in El Cajon. He got married and had a daughter, Bailey, now 6 years old.

Fisher worked at a McDonald's restaurant and the Viejas Casino, but he enlisted in the Army five years ago, his mother said, because he saw it as a reliable job that would provide training in mechanics, one of his passions.

Fisher served a year in Iraq in a previous deployment, his mother said. His wife couldn't handle the separation, and the couple recently divorced. Maria Fisher's last call from her son came at 5:30 a.m. Aug. 13. He told her he was re-enlisting. “I told him, 'I can't share your happiness,' ” she said.

Sean Fisher told his mother he would receive a $20,000 bonus and talked of opening up an auto repair shop or working for an airline when he got out of the service.

“He had all these dreams,” Maria Fisher said.

The next day, she was notified that her son was dead. That day, a letter from him arrived in the mail for Volentine. Volentine said Fisher signed the letter “Your No. 1 hero.”

“He said a prayer that we would get through this together because if we could get through this, we could get through anything,” Volentine said.

Maria Fisher is bitter that her son died in what she called “a useless war.”

She said she feels that President Bush lied to the country about the reasons for invading Iraq and that going to war was not necessary.

“Serving your country is good, but not for no reason,” she said. “I don't see the purpose for being there.”

As of yesterday, 3,701 troops had died in the Iraq war. Maria Fisher said she sees reports of the deaths almost every day, and now her son's body will be arriving home in a coffin Thursday.

“When is it going to stop?” she asked.

From the San Diego Tribune