- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2001

For years, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory had resisted his family's entreaties to quit the Army and find a job back home in his home state of Massachusetts.
"But I was led to believe Danny planned to do that after Afghanistan," his uncle, Dale LaRoche, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the family home in Cheshire, Mass.
"Given the situation, it was a pretty tough hitch. He was looking to go home," Mr. LaRoche said. His nephew, who enlisted in the Army after high school, had been in the Special Forces for a decade and served in the Persian Gulf war.
Sgt. Petithory, 32, was one of three Green Berets who died Wednesday, after a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target near Kandahar in southern Aghanistan.
Also killed were Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39, of Watauga, Tenn., and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, 28, of Frazier Park, Calif. All three were members of the Army's 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Yesterday, they were being hailed as dedicated servicemen and heroes by both their loved ones and military colleagues.
At a press conference at Fort Campbell, Lt. Col. Frank Hudson, deputy commander of the Special Forces group, said: "These brave men were all prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties in service to their country their professionalism and courage serve as an inspiration to us all."
The bodies of Sgt. Petithory and Sgt. Prosser arrived at Ramstein Air Base in Germany late yesterday afternoon. The body of Sgt. Davis was expected to arrive there late last night. Sgt. Jennifer Howard, an Army spokeswoman, could not say when they would be returned to Fort Campbell.
Sgt. Petithory, a bachelor, had been stationed in Pakistan and Kazakhstan during the two years prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, his uncle said. He returned to Fort Campbell in late September and shipped out to Afghanistan in October. While he was back in the United States, "he filled out a will," said Mr. LaRoche.
"Danny was Army through and through. He had been very interested in the Army since he was a boy," Mr. LaRoche said.
The communications specialist proudly wore his Green Beret uniform when he made trips home to Cheshire, a town of 3,600 near Vermont. Sgt. Petithory made his last visit home the summer of 2000, his mother's brother said.
Sgt. Davis was known as "Donnie" to his family. He is survived by his widow, My Kyong Davis, and two children, ages 13 and 10.
"We're very proud of Donnie," Sgt. Davis' cousin, Penny McCracken, said yesterday.
Mrs. McCracken called the sergeant's death "a tragic thing" but said: "He was doing what he wanted to do. Whenever someone joins the military, you have to realize they could be giving their life for their country."
Sgt. Davis graduated from Elizabethton High School in Elizabethton, Tenn., where he was a star quarterback and safety on the football team.
He entered Lees McCrae College in North Carolina on a football scholarship. He subsequently transferred to East Tennessee State University (ETSU). But after only one semester there, he decided he wanted to join the Army.
As a Green Beret, Sgt. Davis saw action in the Persian Gulf and Somalia, and was in South Korea. A high school friend, Matt Geagley, told the Elizabethton Star: "Everything that's happened in the last seven or eight years, he was there. Donnie's been in situations like he was in [Wednesday]" in Afghanistan.
Members of Sgt. Davis' immediate family were not talking to the media yesterday. But Wednesday, his mother, Linda Davis, told the Star she woke up that morning with a feeling something bad had happened to her son. By midday, she said, Army officers were at the door informing her Sgt. Davis had been killed by friendly fire.
Sgt. Prosser was a "leader, a warrior and proud to be a soldier," his 22-year-old brother told the Associated Press. "He's my role model," Jarudd Prosser said of his brother.
Sgt. Prosser grew up in Frazier Park, Calif., a small town 50 miles from Los Angeles. His athletic prowess on the high school football team and his industry and initiative were fondly remembered by Frazier Park residents.
"When Cody was in high school before he went into the service he worked here after school, on weekends, and during the summers," Jean Miller, manager of Alpine Hardware and Lumberyard, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Mrs. Miller described Sgt. Prosser as a "really good kid." He is survived by his wife, Shawna.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide