Nation & World

Bragg soldiers all left families behind

The five Fort Bragg soldiers killed Wednesday when a helicopter was apparently shot down in Afghanistan were all husbands and fathers, and left behind 12 small children and stepchildren.

The Pentagon released their names Monday along with that of a Marine officer from Camp Lejeune who died Friday, also in Afghanistan, of unspecified causes.

Killed in the crash were: Chief Warrant Officer Christopher M. Allgaier, 33, of Middleton, Mo.; Staff Sgt. Charlie L. Bagwell, 28, of Lake Toxaway, N.C.; Sgt. Jesse A. Blamires, 25, of West Jordan, Utah; Sgt. Brandon E. Hadaway, 25, of Valley, Ala.; and Chief Warrant Officer Joshua R. Rodgers, 29, of Carson City, Nev.

It was one of the largest single-day tolls for the 82nd Airborne Division since the Vietnam war in what has been a deadly year for the storied division. It has lost 51 paratroopers since Jan. 1.

The helicopter was flying over Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, where a major joint offensive by NATO and Afghan troops against the Taliban had just begun. A Pentagon news release indicated Monday that the helicopter probably had been shot down. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which also killed a soldier from England and one from Canada.

Allgaier, who also had been deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 and to Iraq, was a good pilot, said a friend and fellow paratrooper in a written statement.

"In his professional life, Chris always led the way through his quiet example of the right way to do things," Chief Warrant Officer Paul Wetzel said. "Having worked directly or indirectly with him for a majority of the last five years, I saw first-hand how his meticulous attention to detail, could sometimes seem a bit overboard, but without fail, his methods proved to be the methods that worked the best and set everybody up for success."

In a written statement, his wife, Jennifer, said the couple would have celebrated its 12th wedding anniversary this week and that she had received flowers and a card from her husband on Saturday.

His survivors include: his wife; daughters, Natalie, 9; Gina, 7; and Joanna, 3, all of Spring Lake; and his father, Ralph, of Omaha, Neb.

"Chris was a huge sports fan, especially football and especially the San Diego Chargers," she wrote. "He loved music; there was almost always music around him. More than anything, he was devoted to his family, and we are comforted by knowing how much he loves us."

The other pilot aboard was Rodgers, also a family man.

"As a father and husband, he is survived by his wife Casey and three beautiful daughters, Madison, Autumn and Ashlyn," said Chief Warrant Officer Heath Barrett in a written statement. "Josh always talked about his three princesses. He strove to provide them everything they ever needed, and even more."

Rodgers, who joined the Army in April 2000 and the 82nd in February 2007, also is survived by his mother, Deborah J. Walker, of Carson City, Nev.

Blamires was a flight engineer on the giant CH-47 Chinook.

"Jesse was a good guy and dreamer," Staff Sgt. Ronald E. Walton said in a written statement. "I know that his lifelong dream was to become an astronaut, and he loved talking about the stars."

Another friend, Spc. Francisco Rodriguez Jr., said that Blamires "always had a way of putting things in a totally different perspective: his own. His intelligence sometimes got the best of him and the best of us. His famous words 'well, actually' will never be forgotten."

Blamires, who deployed previously in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, is survived by his wife, Kimberly, of Fort Bragg; daughters Kalli and Danika; and his father, Craig, and mother, Sandra, of South Jordan, Utah.

Hadaway, also a flight engineer, was a "big ol' teddy bear," said Staff Sgt. Ronald E. Walton. "He could get upset at times, but for the most part, he was always joking and having fun with the guys."

Hadaway joined the Army in January 2002 and the 82nd in April 2006.

Hadaway, who had been deployed previously in Iraq, is survived by his wife, Rachel, of Fort Bragg; his stepson, Hunter, and sons, Levi and Dillon; his father, Lester, and his mother, Karon.

Bagwell, a flight engineer, was a mentor and always led by example, said a fellow paratrooper. "He was my first squad leader and took me under his wing from Day One," Spc. Francisco Rodriguez Jr. said.

Bagwell joined the Army in February 1998 and had been deployed to Iraq once before.

"You couldn't help but like Charlie," Chief Warrant Officer Dave Cox said. "He was just one of those people you rarely meet that leave a lasting impression on you."

Bagwell is survived by his wife, Lorelie, of Fayetteville; his son, Preston Owen; and his father, Augustus Lane, and mother, Judith Bagwell, both of Lake Toxaway.

A spokesman at Camp Lejeune said the Marine who died Friday, Lt. Col. Michael A. Robinson, 42, of Sylacauga, Ala., was not killed in combat and that his death was under investigation. According to a news release, Robinson was in the capital, Kabul, when he died.

Robinson joined the Marine Corps in 1987 and, after leaving active duty, joined the reserves. He had been placed on active duty less than six weeks before his death.

(News researcher Lamara Hackett contributed to this report.)

  Comments