Staff Sergeant Marc Scialdo (Photo from https://www.facebook.com/KneelingSoldier)
Students at St. John Neumann participate in a prayer service for Staff Sergeant Marc Scialdo, a graduate of the school, who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. / St. John Neumann/Special to news-press.com
Area’s military dead
Several Southwest Florida residents have been killed in Afghanistan.
» Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo, 31, formerly of Naples, was killed in a non-combative helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan Monday.
» Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hornsby, 37, of Lehigh Acres, who died in 2012 in a helicopter crash northeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
» Sgt. Linda L. Pierre, 28, of Immokalee, in 2011, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
» Marine Sgt. Jason G. Amores, 29, of Lehigh Acres, died in 2011 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
» Army Spc. Carlos J. Negron, 40, of Fort Myers died in 2010, in Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with rifle and small-arms fire.
» Lance Cpl. Dennis James Burrow, 23, of Naples, died in 2009, in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
» Marine Sgt. Michael C. Roy, 25, of North Fort Myers, died in 2009, in Afghanistan.
» Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Strickland, 25, of LaBelle, was killed by an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008.
» Army Spc. Brandon D. Gordon, 21, of Naples, died in 2007, in a helicopter crash in Zabul province, Shahjoi district, Afghanistan.
» Dr. Roy Wood, 47, of Alva, a sergeant in Army Special Forces, was killed near Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2004.
» Army Capt. Daniel Eggers, 28, whose parents and siblings lived in Cape Coral, was killed in 2004 in Afghanistan when his Humvee hit a mine.
» Army Pfc. Brandon Wadman, 19, of Cape Coral, was killed in Afghanistan in 2004
»Army Staff Sgt. Justin J. Galewski, 28, of Fort Myers, was killed in 2002 in Afghanistan.
» U.S. Army Rangers Spc. Marc A. Anderson, 30, who taught at Fort Myers Middle School for three years in the late 1990s, died in Afghanistan in 2002.
Yearbook photo of March Scialdo from St. John Neumann. / Special to news-press.com
A former Naples resident was one of the five Americans killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan on Monday, according to the soldier’s family.
Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo, 31, served in the U.S. Army. He is the 14th Southwest Floridian killed in Afghanistan since 2002.
Scialdo’s mother, Susan Scialdo, of Naples, said the family received the news Tuesday, but the family hasn’t received information on the crash.
“We just don’t know anything else right now,” she said.
Scialdo’s Facebook page listed him as a Black Hawk crew chief. He was living in Savannah, Ga.
Students at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Naples, where Scialdo graduated in 1999, honored him with a memorial service Wednesday.
Mark Marsala, baseball coach and athletic director in the late 1990s, coached Scialdo on the baseball team for a couple years.
“He was a good, good kid and a funny kid,” Marsala said. “He had a great sense of humor.”
Marsala said he was saddened by Scialdo’s death.
“He loved being part of a team,” he said. “I can see why he would have wanted to join the service.”
Elizabeth Bennett, who has taught at St. John Neumann for 18 years, said she remembers Scialdo as someone who was always able to put others in a good mood.
“He was just very good-natured and well-liked,” she said. “He liked to smile and joke around.”
Bennett taught Scialdo Spanish during his sophomore year in 1996-97 and worked with him during senior activities at the school.
“As a teacher, you see thousands of students, but Marc was just one of those kids who stood out,” she said.
She said Wednesday was a hard day around the school, especially for faculty and staff who knew him.
“My first thought was ‘Oh no, not Marc,’” she said. “He was just getting to the good part of life with getting married and really enjoying his job. He’s gone too soon, and I know he will be remembered in a special way.”
Monday night’s crash brought the number of U.S. troops killed that day to seven, making it the deadliest day for U.S. forces this year. Two U.S. special operations forces were gunned down hours earlier in an insider attack by an Afghan policeman in eastern Afghanistan.
The NATO military coalition said in a statement that initial reports showed no enemy activity in the area. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the statement said.
The official said the helicopter went down outside Kandahar city.
All five people aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk were killed, said Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the international military coalition.
The deaths make 12 U.S. troops killed this year in Afghanistan. There were 297 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan in 2012, according to the Associated Press.
It was the deadliest crash since August, when a U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of Kandahar. Seven Americans and four Afghans died in that crash.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report