Purple Fox CH-46 Crew
Military officials told the Associated Press that mechanical problems caused the crash, while Iraqi officials say an insurgent anti-aircraft missile struck the helicopter. A terrorist group in Iraq claimed responsibility for the crash. There is a video, supposedly taken by the Islamic State of Iraq (composed of a variety of insurgency groups) who claim to have downed the CH-46. Information so far indicates they were on a routine casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) mission on 7 February 2007.
The Marine CH-46 helicopter went down northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board, and an Al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility and aired a video. But military officials initially said they did not believe it was downed by insurgents.
"After further investigation using all available means, the cause of the incident has been confirmed to be hostile fire," said Maj. Jeff Pool, a spokesman for the Multi National Force - West.
With the able assistance of Stephanie Hanson, a compilation of various news articles from around the country relating to the crew have been assembled to portray the emotions and memories these stalwart warriors left with their communities and relatives. Ironically, it was on 7 February 1969 that Stephanie's father, Gary Norman Young who was also a Navy Corpsman, lost his life aboard a Purple Fox CH-46 in Vietnam.
There is a possibility that two additional Marines were killed by insurgents as they attempted to reach the CH-46 to assist in rescuing the crew.
Capt. Jennifer Harris, the pilot, with one of her fuzzy passengers during her second deployment to Iraq.
Travis D. Phister, tail gunner or "stinger."
A. Ruiz, corpsman.
Thomas E. Saba, Left gunner
James R. Tijerina, Crew Chief/Right Gunner
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