Friday, January 28, 2011

Cornell C. Chao, Army, Chief Warrant Officer -- Rest In Peace

Cornell C. Chao , 36

Army, Chief Warrant Officer
Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: January 28, 2007
Najaf (north of), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Fullerton
High School: Sunny Hills High (Fullerton)
Burial: Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier

[But] on Jan. 28, the 36-year-old Fullerton man was killed along with his co-pilot, Capt. Mark T. Resh, 28, of Pittsburgh when their Apache was shot down and crashed north of Najaf, Iraq, south of Baghdad. Both were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.

In a letter home Jan. 20, he told his mother not to worry. He said he had protected many American soldiers. He said the missions were dangerous but that he would be all right.

"He was such a kind and loving person," said his mother, Jasmine Crowl of Orange. "He liked to protect the ground troops."
Back home, Chao made sure to visit the elderly residents of the assisted-living center where his mother worked. Drawn to the youthful veteran, seniors at the center treated him like a surrogate grandson, writing to him in Iraq and throwing him a party.

Chao was born in Los Angeles and lived in Spain and Georgia while his father worked as a civil engineer for Bechtel Corp.

When the family moved to Fullerton, Chao took up golf, eventually playing on the Sunny Hills High School team.

From an early age, Chao set his own path. "He didn't follow, and he didn't expect to be followed," said Shane Ahn, who met Chao in fifth grade and was close to him through high school. "In many respects, he knew his path well before anyone else [in our class] did."

Chao joined the Army right after graduation. He started at the bottom -- an enlisted man serving in the infantry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. After a brief stint at Long Beach City College, he made the military his career.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Chief Warrant Officer Cornell C. Chao  here and read more here.

No comments: