Hawaii guardsman among those killed in Afghanistan plane crash

By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: January 15, 2014

HONOLULU, Hawaii — A Hawaii National Guard soldier who was the married father of a 4-year-old son with another child on the way was killed in the crash of a surveillance plane in Afghanistan on Friday.

Sgt. Drew Scobie of Kailua, 25, died along with another soldier and a civilian when an MC-12 reconnaissance aircraft flying a night mission went down in eastern Afghanistan.

The other soldier was identified by news media as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrew McAdams from the Wyoming National Guard.

In October, Scobie and 12 other Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers were part of a deployment ceremony at Wheeler Army Airfield and left soon after for training at Fort Hood in Texas and then Afghanistan.

"The whole family is just in shock," said Scobie's aunt, Stacey Acma. "We knew how proud he was to be in the military. He was so excited to go on this special mission to be able to support all his friends and everybody that was in the military."

His wife, McKenna Panui-Scobie, who is four months pregnant; his mother, Karen Tao; father, Darryl Scobie; and brother, Jack Whiteted, traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet Scobie's casket, Acma said.

After returning to Hawaii, the family gathered Tuesday evening at Makapuu Beach -- a favorite spot for Scobie -- to remember the 6-foot-4 former high school football player who was a "super-kindhearted" soul, his aunt said.

"The minute he got connected with the National Guard and the military, and the minute he became a father, he knew exactly what his purpose was," Acma, who lives in Waikiki, said by phone. "He was fantastic with his son. Everything was about family. They did everything together. He doesn't have a selfish bone in his body."

When Scobie entered a room, "he wouldn't be the 'Hey everybody, look at me' (guy)," Acma said. "He wants to make sure everybody is having fun."

The Defense Department as of Tuesday had not released the names of those killed.

NATO had earlier issued a brief statement saying, "Two International Security Assistance Force service members and one ISAF civilian died following an aircraft mishap in eastern Afghanistan (Friday)."

There were no indications that the aircraft was brought down by enemy fire, ABC News reported.

Another Kailua man was killed in Afghanistan in the crash of the same type of aircraft last spring.

Air Force Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, was the pilot of an MC-12W Liberty turboprop aircraft that crashed April 27 near Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan while conducting a similar mission.

Three other crew members also were killed. There was no enemy activity in the area at the time.

The Hawaii National Guard soldiers who deployed in October with Detachment 55 are part of Task Force ODIN (observe, detect, identify and neutralize) and are expected to be in Afghanistan about nine months.

Although the Air Force is thought of as operating most of the fixed-wing aircraft, the Army continues to develop its own turboprops to gather battlefield intelligence.

The MC-12 crews use high-resolution cameras and other sensors to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to ground forces.

Detachment 55 previously deployed to Djibouti for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008, and to Bogota, Colombia, in support of Special Operations Command in 2012.

Panui-Scobie was at the October deployment ceremony for her husband, along with their son, Duke, 4, and Sgt. Scobie's brother and sister, his mother and his grandparents.

It was the first deployment the couple experienced, and Panui-Scobie said at the time, "It really hasn't hit us yet."

"I'm OK right now," she added. "I'm a little afraid, but I don't really know a whole lot what to expect. I'm trying to keep myself busy."

Acma said her nephew grew up in the San Francisco area before the family moved to Hawaii. He went to both Kalaheo and Kailua high schools, she said.

"As a little kid he was kind of on the smaller side, and then as he grew, he just kept growing and growing and growing, because he's a really big guy," Acma said.

He was "so athletic," and he played football, but he also liked paddling, surfing and boogie-boarding.

"He loved the beach, so anything by the water," she said.

A 2006 MidWeek story said Kalaheo was welcoming the addition of Scobie as a 220-pound, 6-foot-4-inch tight end.

He worked as a perioperative technician's aide at Straub Clinic & Hospital. He also loved drill weekends with the Hawaii National Guard, his aunt said.

"He would come back and talk about what was going to come on the next one, and he (talked about) this week's training and he loved that structure and camaraderie that came with all of that," she said.

Accolades poured in for Scobie on his Facebook page.

"Still in disbelief," wrote Kaipo Chong. "You were always placing the needs of others before your own. Constantly striving to better your life, your family's and the people close to you. It is truly an honor and a privilege to have met such an incredible person with so much aloha to give."

Miguel Gonzalez, who is helping the family, said contributions to support the Scobie children can be made at any branch of Bank of Hawaii.


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