Bill Cahir, 40

Bill Cahir, 40, Dies; Journalist Moved to Join the Marines After 9/11 Attacks

By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Marine Sgt. Bill Cahir, 40, a former Washington-based journalist and congressional staffer who joined the Marines after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 13, his unit and friends reported. He was an Alexandria resident.

Sgt. Cahir, who had been serving in Afghanistan's Helmand province with the Marines' 4th Civil Affairs Group, was killed by "enemy fire," a member of the unit said in a posting on its Facebook page. The death was confirmed by friends of Sgt. Cahir's. No other details were available.

Helmand, in the southern part of Afghanistan, is a stronghold of the radical Islamist Taliban movement and has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in recent months involving U.S. forces.

Sgt. Cahir (pronounced "care") moved to the Washington area in the early 1990s and became a staffer on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In 1999, he joined the Newhouse News Service in Washington as a regional reporter for small dailies owned by the chain in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

He joined the Marine Corps as a reservist in 2003. After serving tours in western Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and 2006 to 2007, Sgt. Cahir returned to Newhouse. He resigned in January 2008 to run for Congress in Pennsylvania's 5th District; he lost in the Democratic primary. He had spent the past year working for Booz Allen Hamilton.

William John Cahir was born in Bellefonte, Pa. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in English in 1990.

Survivors include his wife of three years, René E. Browne of Alexandria, who is pregnant with twin girls; his parents, John and Mary Anne Cahir of State College, Pa.; two sisters; and a brother.

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