Bill "Scooter" Kerwood
PAVE LOW Flight Engineer
TSgt William J. Kerwood, 37, of Houston MO, was killed when was killed on November 23, 2003 in Afghanistan when his MH-53 PAVE LOW helicopter, call sign "Beatle 12", crashed while conducting combat operations. He is survived by his wife and a 15-year-old daughter who lives in Arkansas. Bill was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on January 21, 2004, grave site Section 60, Site 1821.
Bill was one of seven children. He got his first taste of flying when his father took him to the state fair in Iowa, where the family lived before moving to Missouri in the early 1970's, and he was hooked. He figured the Air Force was the easiest path to a cockpit, so he enlisted on Aug 1, 1985, shortly after graduating from high school in Houston, MO. His career had taken him overseas several times and he always lugged along his golf clubs — a second passion.
When asked why he did such dangerous things, Bill said, "That's what I do. It's my job." Bill had been among the first troops to deploy to Afghanistan after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks and for the U. S. invasion of Iraq. When his sister, Janet Kaut, heard of the helicopter going down, she knew he would die because he would have done anything he could to save those who were with him. He loved the men that he served with; they were his brothers. His 'brothers' nicknamed him 'Scooter' because he was always a step ahead of everyone else.
Bill was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for helping rescue a downed American pilot in the former Yugoslavia in 1999. He refused to give up, despite dangerous conditions, and brought the soldier home.