Army pilot from state dies in Iraq


Published: Monday, January 16, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 11:43 p.m.
A U.S. Army helicopter pilot from Florida who also had served in the Marine Corps was killed in a crash in Iraq, his family said.
Gary and Susan Jackson said they received a call Friday informing them their son, Kyle Jackson, 28, had been killed along with a co-pilot in an Army helicopter crash near Mosul, Iraq.
The father of two young girls, Kyle Jackson had joined the Army because he wanted to be a commercial helicopter pilot. His first choice for duty was Korea, but instead he was sent to Iraq in October, his family said.
He is the first U.S. serviceman from Sarasota to die in Iraq.
"He was nervous about going," Gary Jackson said. "But he wanted to do his job, and he wanted to do it well."
Jackson was born and raised in Sarasota. He graduated from New Directions High School, an alternative school that has since closed.
Before joining the Army, Kyle had served four years in the Marine Corps. Before he settled on becoming a helicopter pilot, Kyle Jackson worked as an assistant manager at a pizza restaurant and installed metal roofs. He also worked for a time in the family's cabinetmaking business.
"He liked to shoot guns and ride motorcycles," Susan Jackson said. "You know, typical guy stuff."
Jackson's decision to go back into the service wasn't just about flying helicopters, his parents said. Kyle Jackson also wanted to serve his country after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
In March 2003 he finished officer candidate school and became a chief warrant officer. Kyle Jackson then went to flight school.
"He was so proud," Gary Jackson said. "I think when he got his wings, it was the proudest moment in his life."
--- Information from: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.herald-trib.com

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