Anissa Shero

Anissa A. Shero—June 2006 Shipment Honoree

Air Force SSGT, 31, of Grafton, W.V.; assigned to the 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; killed in an MC-130H Combat Talon crash on June 12, 2002, in Afghanistan.

West Virginia Airman to be Buried at Arlington

Source: Arlington National Cementery Website

A West Virginia native killed in a military plane crash in Afghanistan will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, her family says.

The bodies of Staff Sergeant Anissa Ann Shero and two other Americans were flown to a U.S. base in Germany, where they were received Monday with military honors. The three were to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Shero, who was stationed in Florida with her husband, will not be returned to her hometown of Grafton, said her grandmother, Edith Kenney.

A public memorial service is scheduled for June 28 at the Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton. Taylor County veterans groups are planning the event. “This is to show our appreciation for the sacrifice she gave for our freedom,” said Tootsie Robinson, commander of Disabled Veterans of Taylor County.

Shero, 31, and Technical Sergeant Sean M. Corlew, 37, of Thousand Oaks, California, were members of the 16th Special Operations squadron that was serving as crew of the MC-130H when it crashed last week. Also killed was Army Green Beret Sergeant First Class Peter P. Tycz II, 32, of Tonawanda, New York.

The plane, a version of the C-130 cargo plane outfitted for special forces missions, crashed and caught fire after taking off from an airstrip in southeast Afghanistan. Seven others on board survived. The crew was picking up three Special Forces members from the airstrip south of the town of Gardez. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Last fall, Anissa Shuttleworth married Nathan Shero, also a special forces airman, and changed her name. The couple were based at Hurlburt Field and had recently bought a home in Navarre, Florida.

Anissa Shero, who enlisted in 1992, was the first Air Force woman to die in Afghanistan, and the second West Virginian killed there since the military campaign began.

“When she called me a few days before she left, she said, ‘Well, I’m going again.’ But she couldn’t say where,” Kenney said Sunday. “I told her to please write me a postcard or anything, just to say hello or goodbye. And she did. She was a thoughtful child. It’s going to be very lonesome,” she said. “I think back at the times I’ve treasured and what was and is now, and I guess, what is to be. She would just laugh. I can see her laughing now.

Statement of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV on the Senate Floor
On the Death of Staff Sgt. Anissa A. Shero in Afghanistan
June 14, 2002

Mr. ROCKEFELLER: Mr. President, for many generations, the people of West Virginia have distinguished themselves by their willingness to serve their country in the armed forces. West Virginians understand the cost of freedom and have always been willing to pay it when called. Today, we are reminded again just how great that cost can be, as we mourn the loss of Air Force Staff Sgt. Anissa A. Shero, of Grafton, West Virginia, who died in a tragic airplane crash near the town of Gardez, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Shero was a volunteer, who chose to serve her country in the face of grave danger. When terrorists struck, she left behind the mountains of West Virginia for the mountains of Afghanistan—to risk her life so that we might live ours in freedom and safety. She was part of an extraordinarily successful effort to crush the Taliban, disrupt and demoralize al-Qaeda, and free the people of Afghanistan from two decades of war and despotism. Men and women in both nations are safer now because of her work, and all of us who value freedom owe Sgt. Shero a profound debt of gratitude and honor. I know that the thoughts and prayers of many people are, like mine, with her family and her friends.

Like the two service members who died with her, and the 37 others killed in Afghanistan during this war, including West Virginian Sgt. Gene Vance, Jr., Sgt. Shero bravely did her duty as an American. Now, let us pledge to do ours in her honor. Let us remember always, including on the floor of this Senate chamber, that wars are about people, and freedom, and lives. Let us make certain that our armed forces have the tools they need to meet any foe, any where, any time. And let us treasure the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and give thanks for the service members who fight to protect them.

Sgt. Shero represented the best of West Virginia and the best of America. She was strong, courageous, and dedicated. She will forever serve as a role model for West Virginians, men and women alike, who love their country and who, like her, know our ideals are worth fighting for.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Anissa during the month of June 2006 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Anissa’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

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