Scott E. Duffman
18 February 2007
|On 18 February 2007, Technical Sergeant
Scott E. Duffman, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M. was killed in action in
Afghanistan. He was on an MH-47 with twenty-one other personnel when it
crashed. At the time of the crash, they were providing CSAR coverage to
several ongoing operations. The cause of the crash appears to be
catastrophic engine failure, but has not yet been officially determined.
Eight personnel were killed in the crash. Two other PJs and one CCT were
TSgt Duffman was assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope AFB, NC when he was deployed to Southwest Asia. He is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Sofia, and his mother Rose. A memorial ceremony was held on 22 February 2007 at the Joint Special Operations Command compound. Scott was buried on March 2, 2007 at Arlington National Cemetery.
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of an Airman who died February 18, 2007, when the coalition CH-47 helicopter he was riding in crashed in eastern Afghanistan.
Technical Sergeant Scott E. Duffman, 32, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina.
Local Family Of Soldier Killed Over Weekend
Mourns His Death
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Virginia - One of eight service members killed over the weekend when a helicopter went down in Afghanistan has ties to the Virginia area.
Scott Duffman was a decorated special operations airman. He was raised in New Mexico, but his mother and sister now live in Prince William County.
"It's very surreal.... something you hear about and plan for you but you re never prepared," Duffman's mother said.
A retired Air Force medic herself, Rose Duffman knew the risks that went along with her son's service.
But she said she also knew she could never stand in the way when -- as a determined 18-year-old fresh out of high school -- Scott entered the Air Force.
Rose said her son's eyes were set on being apart of the special ops.
Duffman was one of two in a group of 50 that trained for the specialized position of a Pararescue Medic.
Officials said that it was Scott's job to find a way to come to the aid of injured airman -- no matter what it took to get to them.
"He loved skiing, scuba diving, skydiving, mountain climbing," Rose said. "He loved it all. There's a sense of loyalty, duty, and honor to his country that was very much him. He couldn't think of anything else he'ld rather be doing."
Rose said that two years ago Scott married... and in October, his first child, Sophia was born.
In late December, Scott brought his wife and new baby to Rose's home for a visit -- it was the last time she would see her son.
She said she tried to suggest he consider a slightly different line of work... perhaps teaching.
"No matter how much I tried to talk him out of it," Rose said. "It didn't matter."
Rose said her son had been to Iraq and Afghanistan at least a dozen times, but that he'd been on this particular mission just five days when the helicopter he was in had engine trouble and crashed between Kabul and Kandahar.
Eight were killed in the accident and 14 injured.
Rose said she's consoled with the knowledge that he was doing what he loved.
"He's a man that had convictions."
Rose said that it was clear to her about one other thing with her son - if anything ever did happen - he wanted to buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Duffman's family said they expect to hold service there sometime next month.
A Pope Air Force Base airman was one of eight U.S. troops killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday.
Tech. Sgt. Scott E. Duffman, 32, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the third Pope airman to die in Afghanistan.
“It’s kind of hard to believe because you’d just talked to him the day before,” said his mother, Rose Duffman. “He was a warrior, and he loved what he did and why he did it.”
He had been in Afghanistan for five days when he died Sunday, his mother said.
Duffman was married, and he and his wife have a 5-month-old daughter.
“She was the light of his life,” said Rose Duffman, who has lived in Washington, D.C., since 2004.
Duffman is the second member of the 24th Special Tactics Squadron to die in the central Asian country. The squadron is part of 720th Special Tactics Group of the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
The pilot had reported an unexplained loss of power shortly before the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter plunged to the ground in Zabul province, which lies between the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the southern city of Kandahar. Fourteen other U.S. troops were injured in the predawn crash, military officials said.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for any attack on the helicopter, which crashed under overcast skies in a region where Taliban militants are active.
Duffman lived in Albuquerque from 1984 to 1992, and “this was always home to him,” his mother said. “He loved the mountains.”
He had frequent deployments and previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq, his mother said.
Duffman was trained to be a pararescue jumper and make rescues in hostile territory.
It was the deadliest single incident this year for the 47,000 U.S.-led coalition and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The military relies heavily on helicopters for transport and operations because of Afghanistan’s forbidding terrain and lack of passable roads. Dust and the high altitude of Afghan’s mountains take a heavy toll on helicopter engines.
It was the first U.S. military helicopter crash involving multiple fatalities since May, when 10 troops were killed in eastern Kunar province as the pilot tried to set down on a mountaintop in the dark.
Mary Webb Duffman cradled her 4-month-old daughter, Sophia, in her arms and slowly walked down York Drive in Arlington National Cemetery yesterday to meet her husband's coffin. Flanking her on her lonely journey were hundreds of Air Force airmen in their dress blues, five or six deep, standing at attention.
Many wore the maroon berets of elite pararescuemen, like the one that Technical Sergeant Scott E. Duffman, 32, of Albuquerque, once wore and that would be buried with him.
"This was our way of showing her respect," Ryan Stanhope said of Duffman's widow.
"Scott was just one of those people you just wanted to be around," said Stanhope, who was Duffman's best friend and best man at his wedding. "He exuded life. None of us would have missed this for the world."
Duffman, of the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, and seven other members of a unit nicknamed the "Night Stalkers" were killed February 18, 2007. when a MH-47 Chinook transport helicopter crashed in Afghanistan's Zabul province. Fourteen others were injured.
Duffman knew he wanted to be a pararescueman from the time he was small, Stanhope said. He grew up in Albuquerque, where his mother, Rose, was stationed as an Air Force medic. His stepfather was also in the Air Force.
Pararescuemen, first deployed in the jungles of Burma in World War II, are among the nation's elite Special Forces. Their mission is to rescue and recover downed or injured troops.
Duffman loved what he did, Stanhope said. As mourners began to gather, Stanhope reminded Duffman's mother of an Air Force recruiting film. In it, Duffman was asked why he was a pararescueman. "He answered, 'I love saving lives and this is the most exciting way I can think to do it.' "
"He loved excitement. He loved to live fast, to live in the moment," Stanhope said. He loved fast cars and motorcycles.
And he loved fatherhood, Stanhope said. From the moment his daughter was born, Duffman was carrying her around on his chest in a baby carrier. He "wore" his daughter at the office, shrugging off the ribbing the guys would give him. He wore her around the house. He changed diapers.
Duffman had been in and out of Afghanistan on a number of deployments since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Stanhope said. He had been awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
But this was the first deployment since his daughter's birth. He had been in Afghanistan just five days when he died.
Yesterday, after an Air Force Special Operations MC-130H Combat Talon jet flew over the cemetery in Duffman's honor, airmen paid their respects. Duffman's maroon beret lay on his casket, near a spray of white roses with a single blood-red rose and a patch bearing his unit's mascot, a smiling green Grim Reaper.
Into the beret, they placed medallions with the motto of the pararescuemen: "That others may live."
New Mexico Native Killed In Afghanistan
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