A sailor from eastern Iowa has been killed in a helicopter crash off the coast of Colombia. John Kaye the Third was involved in anti-drug operations when the helicopter crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. His uncle said Kaye was supposed to get out of the Navy next week, however, he extended his duty so another sailor could be home for a family emergency. Kaye grew up in Waterloo, but was a 2000 graduate of North Tama High School in Traer. John Kaye the Third was 22-years old.
Kaye’s mother, Teresa Kaye, says her son made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. “He truly believed in what he did and not many people in life get to do what they really enjoy and they believe in,” Kaye says. Kaye says a news bulletin about the helicopter crash popped up on her computer at work.
“And I knew then,” she says. “I knew it was my son.”
The news is especially difficult for Teresa Kaye because her husband, who was also named John, died last year. Last month, she got to see her son one last time.
As an early Christmas present, her children bought her a plane ticket and she flew down to see John the weekend before Thanksgiving. “I always told him when I left him down there I said ‘Remember, I love you forever and I love you always and I couldn’t be more proud of you than I am today,'” Teresa Kaye says.
On Monday, she travels to Mayport, Florida, for a memorial service for her son and the two other sailors killed in the crash.