Houston Soldier Killed In Iraq Helped With Hurricane Relief - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/26/07 - Houston, Texas

Houston Soldier Killed In Iraq Helped With Hurricane Relief

A Texas Army National Guard officer was one of 12 U.S. soldiers killed over the weekend when an Army Black Hawk helicopter went down near Baghdad.

Captain Sean Lyerly grew up in Houston and had been in Iraq since August.

11 News reporter Nancy Holland first met Captain Lyerly much closer to home.

Texas Military Forces

Sean Lyerly, 31, was a captain with the Texas National Guard.

The Texan flew missions that were part of the Hurricane Rita relief efforts.

On that hot September day then Lt. Lyerly had been asked to fly relief supplies to hurricane victims in Beaumont.

Not long before that, he had plucked people from the water of Katrina.

He remembered their faces.

"I guess somewhat of a longing, sadness also a little bit of happiness when they see us just for the fact that they are probably going somewhere else that's better than where they are now," Capt. Lyerly told 11 News.

And that is how his widow remembers him as a man who saw not just victims but people.

Lyerly talked with us about both the desruction of nature and the threat of terrorism.

"I feel like they have equal weight. We have to worry about what's going to happen to our country one way or the other," he said.

Either way he wanted to do what was right

"Sean is just a beautiful man. He's just very giving and loving and compassionate and he didn't like to fly at first but he came to love it," Csilla Lyerly said.

Lyerly, she says, was afraid of heights.

His 3-year-old son Zach can tell you his father is in Iraq. Explaining what happened northeast of Baghdad will come later and be harder.

"I guess he's not coming home," Csilla Lyerly said.

Lyerly's former commander remembers him as soldiers remember each other.

"Easy to get along with and always did what he was asked to do," Col. James Kenyon said.

Officials said Lyerly was piloting the helicopter when it was shot down over Iraq Saturday.

Lyerly graduated from Stratford High School.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and joined the National Guard in Austin.

Captain Lyerly received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

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