We are deeply saddened to learn that Staff Sergeant Robert 'Brian' Cowdrey was killed on October 13 while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. According to his wife Jill, he was on a mission treating patients when he came under enemy fire.
In the above photo taken in February of 2010, Brian was captured by AP photographer Brennan Linsley while comforting a patient aboard his MEDEVAC helicopter during Operation Mushtarak in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. As Brian himself said about the photo, "this picture sums it all up".
Brian can also be seen in action during his 2009/2010 Afghanistan deployment here, and another article about his unit can be found here.
Brian was serving his fourth deployment in a combat zone. Prior deployments were Operation Iraqi Freedom 2004/2005, Operation Enduring Freedom 2007/2008, and Operation Enduring Freedom 2009/2010.
He loved his job, and he loved his family. To say he impacted the lives of countless people is an understatement. To some, he swooped down from the sky to rescue them on the worst day of their lives. To others, he provided inspiration through his career of compassionate and courageous dedication. One of his three sons has followed in his father's footsteps and is currently serving in Germany. To all three of them, he has been a Dad - and a Hero. To his friends, his faith, enthusiasm and caring nature were a joy. And to his wife, he was a loving partner and best friend.
This is how we will always remember Brian - his Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces. Our love, prayers, and deepest condolences are with his family.
Update: Others honoring Brian include Assoluta Tranquillita and Blackfive. Brian had just finished conducting this first of what was to be a series of interviews with War on Terror News when he was killed.
Members of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade held a memorial service in Afghanistan for Brian yesterday. The moving photographs can be seen here. And here is the Dignified Transfer at Dover Air Force Base.