Local News

Pope Airman Killed In War Against Iraq

Posted April 10, 2003 4:33 a.m. EDT

— The Pentagon says a Pope Air Force sergeant is among the dead in Iraq.

As a combat controller with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Staff Sgt. Scott Sather was working alongside ground troops in Iraq. It was his job to call for and guide air support.

The 29-year-old is the first airman from Pope to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Pentagon says he was killed in combat, but officials did not release specific details.

"He was a great teammate, very passionate about his job and a quiet professional," said Sgt. Mike Bain, Sather's friend. "Lots of us pride ourselves in that. He doesn't go to bars, doesn't talk about what he did."

Combat controllers make up a small elite Special Operations Group. There are just over 300 of them in the entire Air Force. The group had never suffered a war casualty until last year when Tech Sgt. John Chapman was killed with a team trying to rescue a Navy Seal.

Controllers say two deaths in just over a year is tough to take.

"All you can think about is what you are in the military for and what you are doing and that's defending the freedoms we all have," said Tech. Sgt. Westley Brooks.

Sather is originally from Michigan. His wife in Fayetteville released the following statement on Thursday:

"We sincerely appreciate your interest in Staff Sgt. Scott Sather's life and service to our nation. However at this time, the family needs time. They ask you to respect their privacy as they grieve."

Sather had just gotten married in July. He and his wife do not have any children.


Michael Joyner