Wartime brings bad news close to home. Over the weekend, a US Chinook Helicopter was shot down, killing all 38 soldiers aboard. One of the Navy SEALs onboard was a Norwich University alumn:
STAMFORD — Brian Bill, a Stamford native who played hockey and soccer at Trinity Catholic in the late 1990s, was killed this weekend when the U.S. helicopter he was traveling in was shot down near Kabul, Afghanistan.
Bill, a Navy SEAL, graduated from Trinity in 1997 and was an athlete and an Eagle scout.
Bill’s mother and stepfather, Patricia and Michael Parry, and his father, Scott Bill, issued a written statement to The Advocate thanking the SEALs and members of the Stamford community for their support.
“We are heartbroken in our loss,” they said. “Brian was a remarkably gifted, thoughtful and compassionate young man. We are incredibly proud of him. He was a treasured son, grandson, brother, uncle and cousin. He loved life. He loved a challenge. And he was passionate about being a SEAL.”
Bill, his family said, was interested in attending graduate school and becoming an astronaut upon completing his military service.
“Already an accomplished mountaineer, skier, pilot, and triathlete, he wanted to complete the seven summits,” they said. “He wanted to return to graduate school. He wanted to become an astronaut. He was the best, and we will miss him.”
Trinity Catholic boys soccer coach Bob Pepi said it was apparent early on that Bill was well suited for public service.
“The thing I remember most about him is that he was a serious kid who had a maturity about him,” Pepi said. “His mind was preparing him for something else. He was a little bit reserved and a little bit different, but not in a bad way. It doesn’t surprise me that he chose the path that he did.”
Patrick Sasser, a Stamford firefighter who grew up with Bill, said he found out about Bill’s death Sunday night, when he got a phone call from a friend in the Air Force.
“Brian was just a great guy,” Sasser said. “He loved the outdoors and camping. He was a great all-around guy. In high school, he wanted to be in the military. Especially, he wanted to be a SEAL.”
Bill was 2001 graduate of Norwich University in Vermont and a graduate of Coronado Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego and the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach, Va. Both bases are Navy SEAL training centers.
Thirty Americans and eight Afghans — seven commandos and a civilian translator — were killed in the crash, making it the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-long war in Afghanistan.