National Guard Marks 10 Years Since Shootdown, Death of Wiccan Soldier

A Nevada National Guard article marked the 10th anniversary of the crash of Mustang 22, a CH-47 that was shot down in Afghanistan in 2005. (The article was written on the anniversary in September, though published only recently.)

Last autumn marked the 10th anniversary since the Nevada National Guard lost two Soldiers in the worst helicopter accident in Nevada Guard history. Chief Warrant Officer 3 John Flynn and Sgt. Patrick Stewart were killed on Sept. 25, 2005, when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter, Mustang 22, was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade while flying over Afghanistan…

Flynn and Stewart were the second and third Nevada Guard Soldiers to die while fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

The article contains a bit of biographical information on both Soldiers, including the fight by Stewart’s widow to have the Veterans Administration authorize a pentacle on her husband’s memorial:

Stewart was a Wiccan and his wife, Roberta Stewart, fought for many years to have a Wiccan pentacle on the headstone of his grave at the Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, Nevada.

In November of 2006, Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn approved the pentacle to be placed on Stewart’s headstone, and the following year, Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced that the religious symbol was officially included among the emblems allowed on all veterans’ headstones and grave markers.

Roberta Stewart’s fight to use the wiccan emblem was one of the earliest stories covered on this site.

The list of symbols allowed by the VA has since grown substantially and includes a wide variety of emblems representing many things (and nothing).