Putnam, CT – East Greenwich Police Department (EGPD) Sergeant Christopher Callan died in a skydiving accident on July 18.
The Connecticut State Police (CSP) said they received a report at approximately 11 a.m. that a skydiver was injured during a “rough landing” at Danielson Airport, WJAR reported.
The 49-year-old sergeant was rushed to Day Kimball Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it is investigating whether or not Sgt. Callan’s parachute was properly packed prior to the jump, according to the Associated Press.
“It is with deepest sorrow that the East Greenwich Police Department and the Town of East Greenwich announce the passing of Sergeant Christopher Callan,” the EGPD said in a Facebook post on Monday. “Sergeant Callan was an exemplary officer.”
The 15-year veteran-of-the-force was tasked with commanding the EGPD’s second shift at the time of his tragic death.
Sgt. Callan served in the U.S. Army for 11 years prior to his law enforcement career, according to his obituary.
He served in Kosovo, Germany, and Haiti before later serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces in numerous countries in East Asia.
“[Sgt. Callan] had an extensive military career including service in the US Army Special Forces ‘Green Berets,’” the EGPD noted.
He joined the Rhode Island National Guard in 2006, and was awarded the Bronze Star following a combat tour in Afghanistan, according to his obituary.
“Sergeant Callan developed and maintained an extensive network of friends and colleagues worldwide due to his military and police service,” his department said.
Rhode Island National Guard spokesperson Major Dennis Pineault said that Sgt. Callan served in the U.S. military for a total of 30 years, the Providence Journal reported.
He was most recently assigned as a senior operations non-commissioned officer with the 56th Troop Command, and was a valued senior planner, according to Maj. Pineault.
“First Sergeant Callan was an important member of our team, and the entire National Guard family mourns his loss and holds all of his family, his friends and his brothers and sisters in uniform, both in the National Guard and the East Greenwich Police Department, in their thoughts,” the major told the Providence Journal.
Maj. Pineault said Sgt. Callan was skydiving recreationally on Saturday, and that the jump was not associated with his military duties.
An experienced military paratrooper and skydiver, Sgt. Callan was a member of the Liberty Jump Team.
In addition to educating the public about military history using presentations and static line jumps, the organization also honors World War II veterans by taking them on all-expenses-paid trips back to the battlefields where they fought in Europe, according to the Liberty Jump Team website.
“He was so interested in history, it was a perfect fit for him,” fellow Liberty Jump Team member David Accetta told the Providence Journal. “It’s just very tragic we lost Chris so young.”
According to his obituary, Sgt. Callan “was known for an encyclopedic memory, a ready infectious smile and a quirky sense of humor.”
“Sergeant Callan will be sorely missed,” the EGPD said.
He leaves behind his three children, Rosemary, Margaret, and Samuel, as well as his former wife of 21 years, Sarah, according to his obituary.
Sgt. Callan is also survived by his parents, two sisters, and his companion, Stephanie.
— Operation Hawkeye (@op_hawkeye) July 21, 2020
The Rhode Island National Guard is deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of 1SG Christopher Callan, the Senior Operations NCO, for the HHD, 56th Troop Command. pic.twitter.com/eRq2TSWlwU
— RI National Guard (@RINationalGuard) July 20, 2020
Our deepest condolences to our Brothers and Sisters of the East Greenwich Police Department and to the family of Sgt. Christopher Callan. May he RIP. pic.twitter.com/0rUz4MkfSi
— Warwick Police (@warwickripd) July 20, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of East Greenwich Police Department Sergeant Christopher Callan, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.