Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Army Sgt. Marvin R. Calhoun Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Marvin R. Calhoun Jr., 23, of Elkhart, Ind.

Sgt. Calhoun was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Sept. 21, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash during combat operations in Zabul province, Afghanistan. Also killed in the crash were: Army Maj. Robert F. Baldwin, Lt. (SEAL) Brendan J. 2010Looney, Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) David B. McLendon, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonah D. McClellan, Navy Special Warfare Operator 3rd Class (SEAL) Denis C. Miranda, Army Staff Sgt. Joshua D. Powell, Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class (SEAL) Adam O. Smith, and Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew G. Wagstaff.

Former Elkhart Central football coach Mark Hummel says Calhoun loved to joke around but was one of his hardest working players.

A small town is mourning the loss of a hero after an Elkhart soldier was killed in Afghanistan. Marvin Calhoun Jr., 23, of Elkhart was one of nine soldiers who died Tuesday when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.

The Taliban is claiming insurgents shot it down, but officials say there were no reports of enemy fire in the area.

It was a somber day at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware as the bodies of the nine soldiers returned home. One of those caskets belongs to Calhoun.

"It is really, really sad, especially when it is somebody here," said Jessica Petree.

Jessica and her family are from Elkhart. Every night they pray for the soldiers risking their lives overseas. Now, they are praying for one soldier in particular. "I heard it on the news last night," said Jessica’s husband, Leonard.

And while the Petree's have never met Calhoun, their hearts are breaking for his family. "I am sorry that it happened and our thoughts and prayers do go to you [the family]," Jessica said.

Laura Miller works at a coffee shop in downtown Elkhart. She is a little younger than Calhoun, but she remembers him from school.

"You see them everyday for years. You see their faces...never think they will go away and be gone for good," Miller said.

Calhoun joined the army in 2006. He was the door gunner in a black hawk helicopter. Those who knew him say he was a hard worker, a good friend, a fun guy with a lot of personality.

Those who didn't know him are still very proud.

"As a Michiana resident, I am proud of the guys — the men and the women that fight — that go to work every day to keep our country safe," said Mark Solomon of South Bend.

Calhoun is the sixth soldier from Elkhart killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. A number that is literally hitting home for everyone who lives here.

"Not only am I sad that it happened, but it also makes me proud that there are people over there fighting for our country and they are giving their lives, and it is a sacrifice," Jessica said.

Calhoun is being remembered most for his smile and great personality.

"He always had a smile on his face," said Lisa Miller, Calhoun's English teacher with the LIFE program. "That was what I noticed most was that smile. As soon as I saw the smile [on TV], it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like 'oh my gosh that was Marvin he was one of my student's. He just was always was very happy and wanted everybody around him to be happy."

Sgt. Calhoun leaves behind his wife and two year old daughter. His wife is also in the military, stationed in Texas. Sergeant Calhoun's body isn't expected to be back in Elkhart for a few more days.

Army Sgt. Marvin R. Calhoun Jr. was killed in action on 9/21/10.

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