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Procession held for AHS grad who died in Army copter crash

NBC 10: Images of Arlington's salute | More photos >>

UPDATED, Nov. 20: An Army officer who in 2010 graduated from Arlington High School and received a scholarship from the Arlington Soccer Club, has died in a helicopter crash in Egypt. He was 27.

Marwan S. GhabourGhabour

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan S. Ghabour, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot on his first overseas assignment as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force, was killed Nov. 12 with four other U.S. service members and two others, when their helicopter crashed on the Saudi Arabian island of Tiran off the Sinai Peninsula, officials said.

The town Department of Veterans' Services reports that Mr. Ghabour will be laid to rest on Thursday, Nov. 19. A procession from Hanscom Airforce Base, including the family, was conducted in his honor, led by Arlington police the length of Mass. Ave., from Lexington to Cambridge. 

A private family service is scheduled at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in West Roxbury, with an interment ceremony to follow at Cedar Knoll Cemetery.

Arlington residents are welcome to pay tribute to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ghabour and his family by coming out to the procession.  In accordance to State public health orders, anyone attending this tribute must wear a face covering and maintain social distance (stay 6 feet away from others). 

A Nov. 18 town news release says: "Our community has lost a hero, and tragically, we now have a Gold Star family. Arlington stands by its commitment to provide support for the family. We hope you can join us, safely and respectfully, in recognizing Marwan's service to our nation and the sacrifices endured by his family."

Family response

Sarah Ghabbour, Marwan’s cousin, wrote Nov. 15: "Marwan and I were the same age and grew up in Arlington together. He was my childhood best friend and stood up for me on countless occasions. We attended Thompson Elementary, Ottoson Middle and Arlington High.

"He was well loved by everyone around him and was known for making people laugh. Our AHS history teacher reached out to me, saying, “Marwan will always stay in my memory as one of my funniest and most engaging students from my early years teaching.

"Besides being a genuine and loving person, he was committed to serving others and was proud to be a Muslim service member. The last time I saw him, in December 2019, we talked about the parallels of serving in the army and as a medical doctor [my current profession]." 

Sean Harrington, an Arlington High graduate, wrote on Arlington, MA, Residents Facebook on  Nov. 15: "We were in the wrestling team together. He was always cheerful and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He never let anything stop him on the wrestling team, he kept always got back up and kept going." 

Muhaned Ghabour, 21, told BostonGlobe.com: “My brother was a very loving person” that his friends and family knew they could always lean on. That’s why he went to the Army: He wanted to be part of something greater than himself, serve this country, and help as many people as he can.”

Strong morals always guided Mr. Ghabour, and he was proud to be a Muslim fighting for his country, his brother told The Globe.

Muhaned told WHDH News that he looked up to his brother. “Without a doubt, he was my role model in so many ways. He just taught me so much as far as being compassionate, taking responsibility, doing the right thing even when it’s not popular. That one especially.”

Soccer statements

Mr. Ghabour, whose hometown is listed as Marlborough, but who grew up in Arlington, played goalkeeper for the Arlington Soccer Club. He received the Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship. On its website, the club said the award is made "each spring to graduating seniors with reputations for good sportsmanship and who have continued to play, coach, or referee for ASC during their high school years. Consistent with the scholarship’s mission of civic duty, Marwan exemplified all of the qualities of a player you would want on your team, on and off the field."

Arlington High School soccer coach Lance Yodzio said in a Nov. 15 statement: "Marwan was such a hard-working player and stepped up big time for the team in the 2009 tournament run. He was a real committed teammate. In the spirit of giving back, he was the volunteer goalkeeper coach in 2015.

"Our soccer team will dedicate the remaining week of the season in honor of his memory. At our last home game next Saturday, we will conduct a moment of silence."

He also was a member of the wrestling team and worked as a high school intern with ACMi.

After AHS, Mr. Ghabour attended Boston Architectural College, his family said.

Mr. Ghabour took a job at architectural firm CBT Architects in Boston after graduating in 2016, but he found his real passion was in the sky. “Every time he would talk about flying, his eyes would light up,” his brother told The Globe in a phone interview.

According to the Army, Ghabour was commissioned as a warrant officer in 2018 and had been in Egypt since January as part of the Multinational Force and Observers, a peacekeeping mission founded to supervise the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty in 1981.

The other American service members killed in the crash were Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gerald Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, N.C.; Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio; and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Ill., the Army said.

According to the U.N. Multinational Force and Observers, with whom the crew was serving, the cause of the crash “appears to be mechanical in nature." The Army said the crash was under investigation.

One service member from the Czech Republic and one from France were also killed in the crash, and a sixth U.S. service member was injured, according to a statement.

“It is with profound sadness that we mourn this tragic loss of life,” said Col. David S. Sentell, commander of Task Force Sinai, where Ghabour was stationed as part of the aviation company. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of our fallen during this most difficult time. They should know that their nation will continue to honor their sacrifice.”

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and Rep. Lori Trahan released a statement offering condolences. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch tweeted condolences to Ghabour’s family.

Bodie statement

In a statement Nov. 15, Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bodie wrote:

"We were extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of APS alumni Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Ghabour.

"We thank Marwan for his valiant service to his country and his community. His memory is one our school district will honor and remember.

"On behalf of the entire Arlington School District, we offer our sincerest and heartfelt condolences to the family and their loved ones during this difficult time."

Arlington High School Principal Dr. Matthew Janger added, "Marwan is remembered by his teachers as a student committed to service. He was proud to serve his country and we are deeply saddened by his loss and honored by his sacrifice." 

Honors

The Boston Globe reported Nov. 20 that he had been awarded the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon and Army Aviation Bridge. 


Oct. 20, 2020: Longtime teacher 'Mrs. Rad' dies


 This news summary was published Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, and updated Nov. 20, to add links and honors.

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