Md. Marine killed in helicopter accident

California crash claims North Carroll graduate who fought in Iraq war

January 24, 2004|By Rona Kobell | Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF

A north Baltimore County Marine who survived an eight-month tour in Iraq was killed during a training exercise when his military helicopter crashed near San Diego late Thursday.

First Lt. Michael S. Lawlor, 26, was one of four Marines aboard the helicopter gunship when it crashed at Camp Pendleton. Three were pronounced dead at the scene; the fourth died later at a hospital.

A graduate of North Carroll High School and Towson University, Lawlor returned to the United States in September after serving eight months in Iraq. He was looking forward to returning to Westminster to live with his wife, Blythe Olivia. The two celebrated their first anniversary this month.

"He always wanted to fly. That was his dream," said his aunt, Christine Lawlor, who lives in Baltimore County.

Lawlor graduated from flight school in Pensacola and was sent to Iraq shortly afterward. His aunt said the family was relieved when he returned safely from the war.

Much of Lawlor's family is in Baltimore - his mother teaches at North Carroll High School, his father lives in Timonium, and his brother is a Baltimore County police officer. They were all looking forward to his return home.

"He was a good husband, a good son, a good brother, a good nephew, a good American and a great Marine, and he loved and died for his country," said his uncle, Michael Lawlor, a Baltimore County lawyer.

Two other Marines who died in the crash were Capt. Adam E. Miller, 29, a helicopter pilot from Midlothian, Ill., and Cpl. Joshua D. Harris, 21, a helicopter crew chief from Holiday, Fla. The name of the fourth victim was not released.

The Marines were part of a detachment from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, attached to the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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