Local Marines first on crash site
December 8, 2006

By Alison Walker-Baird
News-Post Staff

FREDERICK -- Local Marines deployed to Iraq helped rescue surviving passengers and recover service members' bodies Sunday after a helicopter crash-landed nearby, killing four U.S. troops.

Dam Support Unit 3, a reserve unit from Fort Detrick, is stationed near the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates River. A power malfunction forced the helicopter to make an emergency landing on Lake Qadisiyah, a reservoir behind the dam in the Al Anbar province.

Four boats of DSU-3 Marines responded immediately after the helicopter landed. None of the DSU-3 Marines were on board the helicopter, unit spokesman U.S. Marine Capt. Christian Devine said.

Marines involved described the water as rough, which makes recovery challenging, and extremely cold, he said.

Maj. Michael Stolzenburg, the unit's commanding officer, said he was proud his Marines' response and recovery efforts prevented more lives from being lost, according to Capt. Devine.

DSU-3 is part of Regimental Combat Team-7 in the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and was previously designated Bravo Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. The unit deployed in October.

Most members are patrolling and securing Iraqi waterways throughout Haditha and the Euphrates River Valley. Some are conducting security operations in Ramadi in the Al Anbar province.

The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing was carrying 16 passengers when it landed. Twelve passengers survived.

The incident is under investigation, but officials said they do not believe the crash was the result of enemy action.

The helicopter began to lose power after lifting off from the dam. Passengers were evacuated from the back of the downed aircraft and the helicopter glided across the water and used a boat ramp to get onshore.

One Marine was pulled from the water after the crash, but efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, the military said.

The bodies of three service members were recovered Monday.

Pentagon officials have released the names of the service members whose bodies were recovered: U.S. Air Force Capt. Kermit Evans, 31, of Hollandale, Miss., who was assigned to a special forces unit from Fort Campbell, Ky.; U.S. Army Spc. Dustin M. Adkins, 22, of Finger, Tenn., who was assigned to a unit from Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico; and U.S. Marine Maj. Joseph T. McCloud, 39, of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., and Cpl. Joshua C. Sticklen, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., both assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

It is not clear whether Cpl. Sticklen or Maj. McCloud was the Marine pulled from the water Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.