Semper Fidelis

      Major Trane McCloud

An American Hero...
Major Trane McCloud,
Father, Husband, and Friend

May the perpetual light shine upon him.

Semper Fidelis Trane

Hawai'i-based Marine killed

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 Corps.

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 Bay.

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 mechanical difficulties.
The incident was not a result of enemy action, the release said.

Ron McCloud said his son, who would have celebrated his 40th birthday Dec. 14,
is survived by his wife and three children, ages 2, 5, and 6, who are in Hawai'i.

"He was a fine young man, loved the Marines and was the kind they (the Marines)
look for," McCloud told the Elizabethton newspaper.

Officials at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i at Kane'ohe Bay did not have any information
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
Iraq in 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 our home.
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.
He leaves family in Tennessee. And he leaves all of us in Hawai'i diminished by his passing."

The twin-rotor CH-46 was from the San Diego-based 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

It was the second military aircraft to go down in a week in Anbar, a stronghold
of Sunni insurgents, although the military said mechanical problems rather than
gunfire had forced Sunday's emergency landing.

"The pilots maintained control of the aircraft the entire time," the military said.

Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman, would not provide details
about the helicopter's mission or the reason for its forced landing, saying
the incident was under investigation.

The helicopter had the ability to land and taxi in the water in case of emergency.
It came down in Lake Qadisiyah, a huge reservoir behind the hydroelectric dam
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 Marine killed in Iraq

Ron McCloud
on Monday

holds photos
of his son,

Maj. Trane McCloud,
who was killed
in a helicopter

crash Sunday
in Iraq.

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 power.

There 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 teachers.

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 in Somalia.

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 accepted.

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 insurgency.

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 always faithful."

Wilson's district includes the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, S.C.

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 said.

The bill has since become law.

Wilson also remembers the athlete.

"He organized a Wilson Running Team for the 2003 Marine Corps Marathon," Wilson said.

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 Lake.

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 

Freedoms Cost
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