A Hawai'i-based Marine major was among four Marines killed Sunday
when a Sea
Knight helicopter plunged into a lake in Iraq's
volatile Anbar province, the
military said yesterday.
The death of Maj. Trane McCloud, 39, was confirmed yesterday by his father,
Ron McCloud of Johnson City, Tenn. McCloud told the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Star
newspaper that he was notified of his son's death by the Marine
The military has not publicly identified the casualties, and it was not known
last night if the other dead Marines were assigned to Kane'ohe
Sunday's deaths raised to 13 the number of U.S. troops killed during a bloody
weekend in Iraq.
A military news release said the emergency water landing resulted from
The incident was not a result of enemy action, the
Ron McCloud said his son, who would have celebrated his 40th birthday Dec.
is survived by his wife and three children, ages 2, 5, and 6, who are in
"He was a fine young man, loved the Marines and was the kind they (the
look for," McCloud told the Elizabethton newspaper.
Officials at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i at Kane'ohe Bay did not have any
to release yesterday, according to Maj. Chris Perrine, director of
public affairs, and
attempts to reach officials with the 3rd Marine Aircraft
Wing were unsuccessful.
Trane McCloud had been a Marine for nearly 17 years and was sent to
September, according to his father.
"The loss of any of our men and women in Iraq is a tragedy,"
U.S. Rep. Neil
Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, said in a statement.
"A terrible wave of emptiness seems
to wash over us when it is a member
of our 'ohana, someone we know, someone from
Maj. Trane McCloud was lost Sunday in Anbar province in western Iraq.
He leaves a wife and three children at the Kane'ohe Bay Marine base.
family in Tennessee. And he leaves all of us in Hawai'i diminished by his
The twin-rotor CH-46 was from the San Diego-based 3rd Marine Aircraft
It was the second military aircraft to go down in a week in Anbar, a
of Sunni insurgents, although the military said mechanical problems
gunfire had forced Sunday's emergency landing.
"The pilots maintained control of the aircraft the entire time," the military
Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman, would not provide
about the helicopter's mission or the reason for its forced landing,
the incident was under investigation.
The helicopter had the ability to land and taxi in the water in case of
It came down in Lake Qadisiyah, a huge reservoir behind the
at Haditha on the Euphrates River.
A Marine was pulled from the water but could not be revived.
The bodies of
three missing Marines were found in a subsequent
search, the military said.
Twelve others aboard survived, according to the military.
ELIZABETHTON - "He was a good Marine, he loved the military," Ron McCloud
said Monday about his son.
The proud father had learned just hours earlier that Maj. Trane McCloud had
been killed in Iraq over the weekend when the helicopter he was riding in lost
were 16 service members aboard the Sea Knight helicopter when it lost power and
landed in a lake in Anbar province. Twelve survived; a Marine was pulled from
the water but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The bodies of three
missing service members were found in a subsequent search, the military said
"I know I am talking like a father, but I never saw a more talented person in
my life. He could do anything, he could restore cars, he could do crown molding,
he was good at everything."
A close examination of Trane McCloud's life demonstrates that his father was
not boasting. While excelling as a military officer, McCloud also found time to
make a difference for schoolteachers across the nation who teach in low-income
neighborhoods. He played a key role in a loan forgiveness program for those
The McCloud family got the bad news late Sunday evening when two Marines in
uniform came to their door. Details are still sketchy, but a twin-rotor CH-46
helicopter from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing experienced mechanical problems
immediately after taking off from Haditha Dam in Anbar province on Sunday.
Ron McCloud said he understands the helicopter was losing altitude. The 12
Marine passengers were told to jump out into Lake Qadisiyah.
"Eight of them made it, and four of them didn't," McCloud said.
When the Marines talked with him Sunday night, they told him his body had not
yet been recovered from the lake, but it was now "a recovery effort rather than
a rescue effort."
Trane McCloud was born in Elizabethton, but his family moved away when he was
only 2 years old. The family first went to Atlanta and later to the Detroit
area, where he graduated from Grosse Pointe High School.
His father remembered him as an outstanding athlete even as a young boy. He
made the All-City team in football in Detroit, playing linebacker for the Grosse
Pointe team. He also stood out as a center fielder in Colt League baseball for
teenagers. As a 14-year-old he told his father he was going to catch someone
loafing to first after making a solid hit. He was true to his word, throwing the
ball to first base from center field in time to make the out.
After graduating, McCloud went to the University of Tennessee, where he
studied liberal arts and history. He graduated in 1989 and enlisted in the
Marine Corps just in time for Desert Storm, during which he served on the USS
Missouri. His crew fired a 5-inch gun on the starboard side during the
bombardment of the Kuwaiti coastline. He also served on the ship during action
During his time on the ship, Ron McCloud said the ship's captain grew fond of
the young Marine and encouraged him to attend Officer Candidate School. He was
His most memorable moment on board the Missouri came at Pearl Harbor, when
the captain selected him to escort the first President Bush on the 50th
anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The captain told Bush that his Secret Service agents could stand down because
the Marines would handle his security on board the ship. McCloud told his father
that Bush told him he had heard he was going to OCS, and he thought McCloud
would be a fine officer.
After obtaining his commission, McCloud was assigned as an infantry officer.
He was a reservist serving on active duty.
One of his assignments was with the Navy and Marine Corps News, where he
produced a weekly television program that was broadcast weekly to sailors and
Marines around the world.
After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
McCloud served in the Philippines, which was also fighting an Islamic extremist
In 2003, McCloud was assigned as a military fellow to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson,
who serves on the House Committee on Armed Services.
"He really was a Marine's Marine," Wilson said after hearing about McCloud's
death. "He really lived the Marine Corps (motto) of semper fidelis, which means
Wilson's district includes the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island,
McCloud worked in the congressman's office for only a year, but during that
time Wilson said "he was a trusted adviser to me as a member of the Armed Forces
Committee. Wilson is also a member of the Education and Workforce Committee and
found that McCloud was also helpful in that decidedly non-military area.
One of the major projects Wilson's office was working on was a teacher loan
forgiveness bill for teachers in schools in low-income neighborhoods.
"The person who worked on that the hardest in 2003 was Trane McCloud," Wilson
The bill has since become law.
Wilson also remembers the athlete.
"He organized a Wilson Running Team for the 2003 Marine Corps Marathon,"
The team included office staffers and Wilson's son, Julian, who is a
lieutenant in the Army National Guard.
"Our whole family loved him," Wilson said. "He was truly a family member for
us, and we will always remember him. He is a hero. My thoughts and prayers go
out to his wife, Maggie, and their three children."
Ron McCloud said his son also had an impact on the city of Elizabethton last
summer. Ron does public relations for the Carter County Car Club. While his son
was stationed in Washington last year, Ron said Trane invited him up for the
Washington Autorama. Dennis Gates of the "My Classic Car" television show was
filming the event.
On the spur of the moment, Ron said Trane decided to ask Gates to bring his
show to the weekly Carter County car shows. Using the public relations skills he
acquired with the Navy and Marine Corps News, Trane soon had an information
packet about the weekly shows and scenes of nearby attractions like Watauga
They presented the packet to Gates, who was so impressed he decided to come
to Elizabethton for a show. The result was the biggest car show in
Elizabethton's history, with car buffs coming from several surrounding states.
"He really could do anything," McCloud said of his son.
McCloud said details for the funeral are not yet decided, but his son had
told him he wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Wilson said he would help the family with that request.
Semper Fidelis Trane
Memorial Day Remembrance
to Bayport Blue Point Index