- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A pilot from Illinois and a staff sergeant from Baltimore were two of the four U.S. Marines killed in a helicopter crash in Kuwait on Thursday that does not appear to be combat-related. Two other victims were said to have family ties to Maine.
Yesterday, U.S. officials classified as the first combat casualties of Operation Iraqi Freedom two Marines killed in fighting for the port city of Umm Qasr. Their names were not released pending notification of their families.
One was in Umm Qasr and the other was in an operation to secure a nearby oil pumping station.
Capt. Ryan Beaupre, 30, of St. Anne, Ill., was the pilot of the CH-46 helicopter that crashed, his sister Alyse said. The Baltimore man was identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Watersbey. The crash also killed eight British marines
Sgt. Watersbey, a specialist in helicopter maintenance, was assigned to the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. He was based at Camp Pendleton in California.
WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported that Sgt. Watersbey was married and the father of a 10-year-old. The station also reported that lived in California with his wife, Angela.
The CH-46 helicopter crashed Thursday in Kuwait, about nine miles from the border with Iraq. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Hostile fire was reported in the area.
Maine's two Republican senators, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe, said they had been told that two of the other crash victims had ties to their state. They were identified as Capt. Jay Thomas Aubin of Winslow, Maine, and Cpl. Brian Matthew Kennedy, a Texas man whose mother lives in Port Clyde, Maine. No other details was immediately available.
The Rev. James Fanale, the priest at Capt. Beaupre's family's church, St. Anne's Catholic Church, said a Marine Corps delegation came to the family's home with the news. A memorial Mass was celebrated at the church yesterday morning.
"Everybody said he was the kind of son everyone hoped for: friendly, generous, bright and devoted to the military," Father Fanale said.
"He was the kind of kid that when he came home, he would visit every single relative and friend," he said. "People loved to see him. He was just a kind of ray of light, a ray of sunshine."
He said Capt. Beaupre's father, Mark, told him he had been "nervous and on edge" when he heard news reports about the crash. "Then the dog started barking at 3 in the morning, and Mark said, 'There they are.'"
Marine officials in Illinois and at Camp Pendleton, where Capt. Beaupre was based, could not immediately confirm the names of those killed.
Residents of Oceanside, Calif., near Pendleton, say the locals worry about the Marines.
"It's like a family here with the Marines and the community," said Stephanie Starks, 46, owner of the Tahitian Bytes Cafe, a coffee shop. "Even if you don't know one of the guys, it's very personal because they're ours."
Alyse Beaupre, 31, said her brother was a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School and Illinois Wesleyan University. Capt. Beaupre had two other siblings, Kari Leisure, 28, and Christopher, 22.
St. Anne is about 60 miles south of Chicago.
"We're a small community of 1,300," said another family friend, the Rev. Ron Murphy of the First Baptist Church of St. Anne. "What happens to one family happens to all of us. The whole community knew Ryan, one of our finest."

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