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Clay County man dies in Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Clay County man died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan earlier this week.

AAR Airlift Spokesman Chris Mason confirmed to The Brazil Times Wednesday that Michael Clawson, 51, Brazil, was one of three crewmembers killed in the accident, which took place in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, at approximately 10:45 a.m., local time, Jan. 16.

According to reports, AAR Airlift was in Afghanistan doing work for the United States Department of Defense. AAR Airlift is a unit of AAR Corp., based in Wood Dale, Ill.

Clawson and his family attended the St. Joseph's University Parish in Terre Haute.

According to Father John Bamman, OFM CONV., Clawson leaves behind his wife and five children.

Bamman said he had spoken with the family just hours before the news was released.

"The night before this happened, we were enjoying each other's presence after the 7 p.m. mass, just laughing and having a great time," Bamman said. "(The children) even talked to their dad after they got home from mass.

"Now, they're just trying to re-balance everything. It's such a shock ... such a great family. I've known them over the past six months or so since they entered the church. If you can gauge parents by the generosity of their kids, this family is golden. They're just a great family."

According to the AAR Airlift release, the company is a "provider of expeditionary airlift services and specialized aircraft modifications for defense and humanitarian relief operations. Under current contracts, the company provides airlift for the Department of Defense (DoD) in three regions around the world, using both fixed-wing aircraft and rotary-wing aircraft to transport personnel, supplies and mail."

The release further stated there were no passengers aboard the aircraft at the time of the incident.

The cause of the accident, according to the release, is currently unknown.

"They're just kind of waiting for an official word," Bamman said.

Funeral arrangements, which will be conducted by Callahan and Hughes Funeral Home, Terre Haute, are pending.

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My heart breaks for the Clawson family. They are a wonderful, loving, fun spirited family and Mike will be missed more than words could express. Prayers go out to the entire family.

-- Posted by luvmylife9295 on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 2:16 PM

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Clawson family in their time of need. I am so very sorry for your loss.

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 3:45 PM

Another sobering reminder that war is not just a video game played out on the news stations. We have children that are actually there, risking their lives, so the rest of us can enjoy freedom and fancy cars.

I heart goes out to the family of this soldier. He will be remembered among heroes.

-- Posted by Oldtown on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 3:52 PM

I haven't seen ANYTHING around town about it!

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 8:19 PM

I worked with Mike in Saudi Arabia. He is one of the most solid men I have ever met and was highly respected by everyone. The world lost a good man.

-- Posted by richnutt on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 8:55 PM

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