Two Illinois soldiers among those killed in helicopter collision

By Evelyn Holmes
November 17, 2003 Lyons Township High School held a moment of silence in honor of Specialist John R. Sullivan. The Lyons graduate was one of 17 Americans killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq over the weekend.

U.S. officials are still investigating what caused two Blackhawk helicopters to collide over Iraq.

Sullivan, who grew up in southwest suburban Countryside, Ill., never met his twin sons. They were born on September 10th while he was overseas. His family now lives in western Washington.

Friends say the 26-year-old was proud to serve in the military. Sullivan, who graduated from Lyons in 1995, was deployed in July through the 626th Battalion of the 101 Airborne Division. His high school teacher, Kate Singletary, remembers him as a nice young man.

"My first thought was he was from Countryside and I did not remember him immediately. It took me a flip through a yearbook to realize he was one of my students and once I think I had kind of a sharp reaction in terms of being sad," said Kate Singletary, former English teacher. "I remember him as a soft-spoken, well-mannered young man, who did his work and certainly participated in our activities. He was loyal; he was friendly, and very quiet."

Sullivan recently reenlisted after finding out his wife was pregnant with twin boys. The couple already had one child.

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Last Updated: Nov 17, 2003