Thursday, November 08, 2007

Air Force Capt. Cartize B. Durham

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Capt. Cartize B. Durham, 30, Bossier City, LA.

Capt. Durham was assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano AB, Italy and attached to the 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment.

Family members tell The Times an Air Force officer from Bossier City is among six military personnel killed in the crash of an Army Blackhawk helicopter in Italy this week.

Capt. Cartize Barnard Durham was killed in the crash of the helicopter Thursday, his aunt, Rosemary Sneed, told The Times today.

She said the officer's mother, Deborah Durham, also of Bossier City, learned of his death that day, when the airman's widow, Shumeka, called with the grim news.

Durham, 30 and a graduate of Airline High School and Louisiana Tech University, was married and the father of two sons, Taylor, 7, and Christian, 1.

Durham had just returned from a two-week visit to her son and daughter-in-law in Italy, Sneed said.

"We've lost the best," Sneed said of her nephew, who joined the Air Force after three years of service in the Army and his college graduation. "He was such an outstanding figure, to be raised by a single mother."

Sneed said her nephew joined the service to help his family as well as for personal service to the country.

"What motivated was how he saw his mother struggling," Sneed said.

The crash's sixth victim died overnight in a northern Italian hospital, officials said Friday.

Eleven Army and Air Force personnel were on board the UH-60 Army Blackhawk helicopter when it went down Thursday near the city of Treviso, U.S. Army Europe said in a statement released by its headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany.

The military said that the names of the victims were being withheld pending notification of next of kin and that the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

Italian rescue services said they pulled four bodies from the wreckage, and the U.S. army said a fifth person died later in hospital.

The sixth person died Thursday around 10 p.m. local time, said an official at Treviso's hospital.

"He was in serious hemorrhagic shock when he arrived," said hospital spokesman Fabio Bruno. "He didn't make it."

Three survivors of the crash, one in serious condition, were being treated in Treviso, while two others were hospitalized in nearby towns, Bruno told The Associated Press by telephone.

Television footage showed the charred remains of the chopper, which broke into at least two pieces, smoldering in a swampy field.

The helicopter, attached to 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, crashed around midday about 22 miles southwest of Aviano, the U.S. Army statement said.

A spokesman at the U.S. Air Force base in Aviano, near Venice, Senior Airman Justin Weaver, said the helicopter involved had taken off from the base.

The Army statement said the chopper was on a training flight. The mission also included a re-enlistment ceremony, it said without elaborating.

Aboard were four Army soldiers as crew and seven Air Force airmen as passengers, according to the statement.

The UH-60 Blackhawk is the Army's general utility helicopter, used for transporting troops and equipment, air assault, medical evacuations and to support special operations as well as other missions.

An entire 11-person, fully equipped infantry squad can be lifted in a single Blackhawk, according to the Army Web site, which says the helicopter has a crew of four.

Air Force Capt. Cartize B. Durham was killed in a helicopter crash on 11/8/07.

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