Slain soldier leaves
family in Mililani

Sharon Swartworth had been
planning to retire to Hawaii

One of the six soldiers killed in last week's downing of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq was on her last mission before retiring to Mililani, where her husband and son now live.

On Saturday the Pentagon identified Chief Warrant Officer Sharon Swartworth, 43, as from Virginia. However, the Navy confirmed yesterday that her husband, Capt. William Swartworth, is a Navy occupational health physician assigned to medical clinics at Pearl Harbor. The couple has an 8-year-old son, William Swartworth III.

Swartworth's husband and their son left the islands for Washington, D.C., Sunday and were making arrangements to bury her at Arlington National Cemetery.

Swartworth was the regimental warrant officer for the Judge Advocate General Office, which provides legal services, based at the Pentagon.

The Black Hawk was shot down Friday by a shoulder-fired missile on the east side of the Tigris River, near Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. Swartworth was one of two Pentagon JAG officers on the chopper at the time.

The downing of a Chinook helicopter Nov. 2 in Fallujah, in which 16 soldiers were killed and 21 injured, and the crash of the Black Hawk on Friday ended the bloodiest week for U.S. forces since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1.

Their deaths brought the combat death toll to 262, including 148 since Bush declared an end to major combat operations. Thirty-two soldiers had died within the week.

Four of the six soldiers killed on Friday were assigned to 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, in a written statement, said Swartworth "made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our country. We pay tribute to her patriotism and honor her courage."

The Providence Journal reported on Sunday that Swartworth had planned to sell her home in Fairfax County, Va., to retire in Hawaii with her husband and son.

Her father told the newspaper that on Sept. 11, 2001, the JAG section where she was supposed to be working in the Pentagon was hit by a hijacked American Airlines jet. Her office had been renovated, and a general took over the office; the general was killed in the crash.

The newspaper said in her 26 years in the Army, Swartworth rose through the ranks to chief warrant 5 -- the highest rank in the warrant officer class -- to become the primary adviser to the judge advocate general on administrative matters. She was also the director of operations for legal technology, overseeing JAG computer systems.

She would have turned 44 last Saturday and was just a few months shy of her retirement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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