Originally created 10/30/04

Report: Columbus contractor killed in Iraq



COLUMBUS, Ga. - A contract worker from Columbus has been killed in a car bomb attack in Iraq.

Travis Schnoor, 39, died Wednesday after the vehicle he was riding in flipped over after hitting an improvised explosive device near Abu Ghraib, about 20 miles west of Baghdad.

Schnoor's wife, Alyce, and 9-year-old son were notified Wednesday night by Muscogee County sheriff's deputies, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. Schnoor was a former sheriff's deputy.

"It's a major loss," said Capt. Rick Kelly.

The report said Schnoor apparently was living near Abu Ghraib.

"He felt there was a need to make a difference for the people in Iraq," Kelly said.

Schnoor was a bomb technician for the sheriff's department and before that was a U.S. Army Ranger at Fort Benning, Kelly said.

Schnoor played football at Marshall High School in Marshall, Wis. and his mother Shirley Ethridge-Cook lives in Monroe, Wis.

In a telephone interview with The Monroe Times, his friend John Clements said Schnoor told him he wanted to help in Iraq, but he was too old to go back into the Army. So he resigned his job as a deputy and joined Custer Battle of Rhode Island, a security consulting firm.

Schnoor is the third Georgia civilian worker killed in recent months in Iraq.

In September, Marietta construction worker Jack Hensley was abducted and executed by an Islamic militant group. Earlier this month, Kennesaw native Steve Osborne was killed when two suicide bombers entered Baghdad's Green Zone and blew themselves up at a bazaar close to the U.S. Embassy.

Friends say Schnoor was planning to return to Columbus on leave in two weeks. Schnoor was planning to congratulate his son, Tristan, a third-grader who recently earned a spot on his school's student council.

Ethridge-Cook said her son tried to comfort her this summer when he called to tell her he was going to Iraq.

"He said, 'I'll be fine. Don't worry about me,'" Ethridge-Cook said.

He was sent over in August and was scheduled to return to the U.S. because Custer Battle has a policy of assigning people to Iraq for 90 days, then bringing them back home for two weeks before having them return.

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Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, http://www.ledger-enquirer.com