William Kerwood—September 2008 Shipment Honoree
Thank you for thinking of my brother and sending out the care packages in his name. I hope it helps those in need and I appreciate your kind deed.
I’ve started & stopped this email so many times the last few days, the memories bring the feeling of loss back to the surface when least expected & get me tickled all over again at the same time. But I’m determined to do this for Bill, so here it goes.
Bill Kerwood, in all my time as an Air Force wife I have never met another man like him. Bill was the kind of guy that always had a smile on his face, a wicked sense of humor & willingness to help out any way he could. He loved his job but wasn’t one to brag about his accomplishments. I think we’d known him for 2 years before we knew he had received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the rescue of a downed U.S pilot in Yugoslavia. That’s just the way he was. He’d be gone for weeks sometimes months but as soon as he was back it was time to “fire up the grill & toss back a beer.” Those were the best times.
He was the one of the funniest people I’ve had the honor of knowing. There was one of those weekend cookouts where he got the idea to try one of his Golden Retriever’s dog biscuits to see if they were any good…I can’t think of a time I’ve laughed harder. And he decided those dog biscuits were better then some of the MREs he had had. Then there was the New Year’s Eve we hung out & he decided to dress his wife & I up in his chem gear & helmet…somewhere around here I still have the pictures of that night.And the Halloween when the same Golden Retriever was dressed up like “Bat Dog” & Bill dressed up like Jason. The kids would walk up to pet Jake & then here would come Bill & scare them half to death…those poor neighborhood kids.
There are so many things I could say about Bill. He was a great husband, friend, son, brother, & father. And for those of us who were lucky enough to know him even for just a little while, lost a little bit of ourselves the day we lost him. But, there’s comfort in knowing he died doing a job he loved for a country he loved & we’ll see him again on the other side. Be at peace, Bill. We’ll see you again.
In Remembrance of William Kerwood
Casualties of Afghan Campaign Honored
Five Were Killed In Copter Crash
The flag-draped coffin was borne by a horse-drawn caisson and followed by mourners who made their way through Arlington National Cemetery yesterday to honor four airmen and a soldier who died when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan in November.
The men were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, working together in an MH-53M helicopter when it fell about seven miles east of Bagram Air Base. Nearby villages reported that the helicopter crashed near a riverbed and caught fire. Officials said mechanical failure might have been to blame.
Killed in the November 23, 2003, crash were Air Force Major Steven Plumhoff, 33, of Neshanic Station, New Jersey, and three other airmen, Staff Sergeant Thomas A. Walkup Jr., 25, of Millville, New Jersey, Technical Sergeant Howard A. Walters, 33, of Port Huron, Michigan, and Technical Sergeant William J. Kerwood, 37, of Houston, Missouri. Also killed was Army Sergeant Major Philip R. Albert, 41, of Terryville, Connecticut.
Yesterday, the men’s remains were interred with full honors in a common grave whose headstone will be marked with each of their names. The service included a flyover by an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter — the largest, most advanced line of helicopters in the Air Force’s inventory — from Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Kerwood, an 18-year veteran, was among the first troops to deploy to Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, according to news reports. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for helping rescue a downed U.S. pilot in the former Yugoslavia in 1999.