Father of Five Died in Afghan Crash
T O N A W A N D A, N.Y., June 14 — The three Americans killed in a military plane crash this week included a patriotic father of five, an airplane enthusiast and a newlywed whose husband also served in Afghanistan.
Green Beret Master Sgt. Peter Tycz II of Tonawanda wrote his mother in an e-mail last fall: "I do what I do, not because I like it, but to ensure all of my family are safe from whatever treads on us."
Tycz, Air Force Staff Sgt. Anissa Ann Shero of Grafton, W.Va., and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean M. Corlew of Thousand Oaks, Calif., were killed Wednesday when an Air Force MC-130H crashed and caught fire after taking off from an airstrip in Afghanistan. Seven others were injured.
Shero and Corlew were part of the 16th Special Operations Wing stationed at Hurlburt Field in Florida. Tycz was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Shero had married another serviceman in September. Nathan Shero recently returned from Afghanistan because the military didn't want both of them to serve overseas at once, her aunt said Thursday.
Shero, 31, grew up with military tradition. She enlisted in 1992 and was assigned to Hurlburt Field in July.
For as long as her family can remember, Shero wanted to travel the world. Short, strong and sassy, the dark-haired girl who became a staff sergeant in the Air Force just wasn't in a small-town frame of mind.
"She wanted to get out of Grafton. She wanted a big life," said Shelley Ball, Shero's cousin and lifelong friend. "She'd say, 'I want to get out of here.' And she did."
Her aunt, Glenda Knight, said Shero loved the service.
"Her grandfather was at the Battle of the Bulge. Her dad was in Vietnam and lost both legs," Knight said. "But they both survived."
When she saw reports of the crash on TV, she thought of her niece, who had been in Afghanistan for only two weeks.
"I thought, 'Oh, dear, that's the kind of plane Anissa's on.' But I tried to put it out of my mind," Knight said. "I keep hoping they'll call and say it was a mistake."
Corlew was fascinated with flying. He played with toy planes as a child and fueled airplanes at Los Angeles International Airport as a teen-ager, his father said. He joined the Air Force at 19.
"There were two things important to him: flying and his family," Richard Corlew said.
Corlew, 37, served in Panama and later in the Gulf War, his father said. He spent several months in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks and returned to the United States earlier this year. He had only recently returned to Afghanistan, his father said.
"He really believed in why he was there. He volunteered for a lot of extra stuff, and he wanted to do the right thing," the elder Corlew said.
In between the tours, Corlew attended a family reunion, bringing his wife, Amy, and their children — Preston, 5, and Miranda, 1 — from their Florida home.
"It was a good time. We talked a lot," his father said. "It was good to see them all together. It's one of my last memories of him."
Tycz's wife, Tammy, and their five girls, ages 1 to 9, live in Raeford, N.C., where he was stationed. The 32-year-old soldier was raised in Tonawanda and joined the Army after high school.
His mother, Terry Harnden, said she was leaning on her pride in her son to withstand the sorrow.
"I can deal with my sorrow in my time and my speed and God will help me through that, but right now, I need to be proud," she said.
A memorial service at Hurlburt was being planned.