- Last Updated on 08:44 AM 12/23/09
- BY Paula I. Bryant
The nephew of Grace Baptist Church Pastor Jack Stewart is among the nine people missing and feared dead following a midair collision between a Marine Corps light attack helicopter and a U.S. Coast Guard transport plane over the Pacific Ocean.
Lt. Adam W. Bryant, 28, of Crewe is missing at sea following Thursday’s crash off the Southern California coast. Bryant was co-pilot of the Coast Guard C-130.
Bryant’s mother, Nina, is Rev. Stewart’s sister.
Stewart said Sunday his sister is remembering her son as smart and athletic. He was a former basketball and baseball player and honor society member at the private Kenston Forest School in Blackstone.
“He knew what he wanted to do when he was in high school,” Stewart said. Upon graduation from the Coast Guard Academy and completing his mandatory enlistment, Stewart said his nephew decided to make the Coast Guard his career.
He had been in the Coast Guard for 10 years.
“Adam loved his mama,” Stewart said of his nephew, adding that he has a brother, Ben, and his father Jerry, both also of Crewe.
In addition to Stewart, Bryant also has a grandmother, Mrs. Caleb Stewart, who lives in Virgilina and two other uncles and an aunt living in Halifax County including Gaylon Stewart of Virgilina, James Stewart of South Boston and Annie Daniel of Cluster Springs.
Other aunts and uncles include Jerilen Phipps of Richmond, Rita Rogers of Morrisville, N.C., Ervin Stewart of Richmond and Dwight Stewart of Roanoke Rapids.
In addition to identifying Bryant as one of the missing, military officials also released the names of other missing personnel Saturday.
The pilot of the Coast Guard plane was Lt. Cmdr. Che J. Barnes, 35, of Capay, a small town in Yolo County. Also onboard were Co-Pilot Bryant; Chief Petty Officer John F. Seidman, 43, Stockton; Petty Officer 2nd Class Carl P. Grigonis, 35, Mayfield Heights, Ohio; Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason S. Moletzsky, 26, Norristown, Pa.; Petty Officer 3rd Class Danny R. Kreder II, 22, Elm Mott, Texas; and Petty Officer 2nd Class Monica L. Beacham, 29, Decaturville, Tenn.
The missing Coast Guard plane and the personnel who had been aboard it were from USCG Air Station Sacramento.
Maj. Samuel Leigh, 35, of Kennebec, Maine was pilot of The Marine Corps chopper, part of Marine Aircraft Group 39 based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The co-pilot was 1st Lt. Thomas Claiborne, 26, of Douglas, Colo.
The crash involving U.S. Coast Guard C-130 with seven people aboard and a Camp Pendleton-based AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter with two aboard occurred around 7 p.m. Thursday near San Clemente Island.
The Coast Guard crew was looking for a 50-year-old missing boater of Santa Catalina Island, who was last seen leaving Avalon harbor Tuesday night on a motorized skiff to help a friend trying to anchor in strong winds.
The helicopter was headed to Navy-controlled San Clemente Island for training.
Air and sea crews searched 650 square miles of ocean between San Clemente Island and the mainland.
According to published reports, military searchers have recovered pieces of wreckage, but none of those who had been aboard the aircraft have been found.
Stewart said a memorial service has been set Friday in San Diego, and his sisters, Nina and Jerilen, will be flying to the West Coast to attend the service.
Arrangements are incomplete for Bryant’s service in Crewe, he added.
Anyone wishing to send personal messages to the Bryant family may mail them to Nina Bryant, 213 Park Avenue, Crewe, VA 23930.