Wife of helo crash victim: ‘He was the best person I ever knew’

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"It's just so hard to know that I can't call him and I can't talk to him anymore and he's the person who knows me best in the whole world," Cheyenne Collins says, the wife of Petty Officer Brian Collins.

Cheyenne and Brian Collins had just celebrated their first year of marriage.

"He was the best person I ever knew," Cheyenne says.

They were engaged Christmas Eve 2012 and married just a week later on New Year’s Eve. Cheyenne says the past year has been a blur.

The newlyweds moved from their home in Truckee, California to Norfolk, so the 25-year-old petty officer could pursue his dreams in the Navy and also start a life with 21-year-old Cheyenne.

"Just wanted to do so much,” Cheyenne says. “He was so ambitious. He wanted to do crazy things that weren't even possible and I would tell him that and he's like 'I don't care, I’m still doing it,' you know. He was just so excited about our life together."

On Wednesday their dreams were shattered. Cheyenne got a call from Brian’s father about a Navy Sea Dragon helicopter crash off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Brian was one of four crewmembers taken to the Sentara Norfolk General.

"I was just glad that he was there and was just praying on my way over that he was OK," Cheyenne says.

She waited hours at the hospital. Wednesday afternoon, Cheyenne was told that Brian didn't make it.

"I still can't believe it's real,” she says. “It's not fair. I saw him yesterday morning. You know he kissed me goodbye."

Cheyenne says they had planned to one day have a big wedding, but looking back now, Cheyenne says what they had was perfect.

"I know that he loved me a lot and would give me anything I ever wanted, but I just wish he was here still,” Cheyenne says. “It's not fair. He didn't deserve it."

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  • Carl D.

    Mrs. Collins, you are a brave widow who has an amazing Navy guy who did what he loved most: flying an helicopter! God bless Petty Office Brian Collins…you will never be forgotten!

  • Cindy Wrenn

    I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you guys had a wonderful marriage. My husband and I have been married for 35 years. I can’t imagine my life w/o him. Just remember that Brian will always be in your heart. Please know that there are lots of people praying for you and your family. I think this reminds us all just how short life can be. We should always remember to tell people that we love them b/c you never know what will happen.

  • Helene Baustian

    My heart bleeds for you, I know all to well the pain you are going through. My husband was killed in an HM-15 helicopter crash in 1988 (we were married 1 year, a month and 2 days).
    Please know his love will always be with you and he will help you get through this. Lean on friends, family and the squadron – find strength in the memories and that he lived his life to the fullest and would want no less for you.
    May God bless and comfort you. Hugs and Prayers!!

  • Molly Loch

    Thanks, Brain for serving/protect our country. Cheyenne, sorry for your loss. My son and him are friend. He have talk a lot about him and how wonderful and an incredible person he is to everyone. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.

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