Former Montana U Student Dies in War

By By U Wire

By U Wire

MISSOULA, Mont.?Private first class Kristofor Stonesifer came to the University of Montana in August 1999 because he loved the outdoors, but he joined UM?s Army ROTC program because it was in his blood.

His grandfather was in the Navy, his father is a retired Navy captain and his brother is an Army chief warrant officer. Stonesifer once spent two weeks living in a snow cave, eating squirrels and surviving off the land?just to see if he could do it.

Stonesifer realized his dream of becoming an Army Ranger soon after he left UM in May 2000. But his dream was cut short.

Stonesifer, 28, died in Pakistan on Friday while fighting the war against terrorism when the helicopter he was in crashed due to poor visibility. Officials have not disclosed the role of the Black Hawk helicopter, but it may have been preparing to cross the border into Afghanistan in the event that ground troops needed to be rescued.

The crash killed Stonesifer, of Doylestown, Pa., and specialist Jonn J. Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyo. They are among the first casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom. Both men served in the 75th Ranger Regiment and were stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.

A memorial service for Stonesifer will be held Tuesday in Fort Benning, Ga.

?We?re in shock. It’s pretty tough,? Roberta Diamond, the fiancee of Stonesifer?s father, said Monday. ?It?s like it?s a dream, like it?s not real.?