Families tell of 2 Iraqi mob victims
The slain security contractors were Army veterans from Ohio and Tennessee.
By Connie Mabin | The Associated Press
Posted April 2, 2004
Mom mourns her fallen son
Apr 2, 2004
Two Army veterans, one from Ohio and one from Tennessee, were among four American contractors killed
in Iraq, their bodies mutilated and dragged through the streets.
Family members said Thursday that Jerko "Jerry" Zovko, 32, and Michael Teague, 38, died with two other
civilians Wednesday after they were hit by rocket-propelled grenades in a rebel ambush. The victims
worked for Blackwater Security Consulting, one of five subsidiaries of Blackwater USA based in North
Zovko's mother said she and her husband had suspected their son might be among the dead, but their
fears were confirmed Thursday when the president of Blackwater USA knocked on their door.
"It was the hardest day of my life," Donna Zovko said during an interview in her suburban Cleveland
"Jerry was a man with a principle, an idea," his mother said. "He loved people. He wanted the world to
be without borders, for everybody to be free and safe."
Jerry Zovko joined the Army in 1991 at age 19. He spoke five languages fluently -- English, Croatian,
Spanish, Russian and Arabic. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North
Carolina, his brother Tom Zovko said.
Zovko's family wouldn't say whether he was married or had children.
Teague, of Clarksville, Tenn., was a 12-year Army veteran who earned a Bronze Star for service in
Afghanistan and also served in Panama and Grenada, his wife, Rhonda, said in a prepared statement. She
called her husband a "proud father, soldier and American."
"I, his son Brandon and his friends and family will miss him without measure," her statement said.
Teague had worked in the security business since he left the Army six years ago. He joined Blackwater
Security two months ago, a Nashville television station reported.
The names of the victims were not officially released because family members had yet to be notified,
U.S. officials said.
Privately owned Blackwater USA's range of paramilitary services include providing firearms and
small-groups training facilities for Navy SEALs, police-department SWAT teams and former
The company's security-consulting business connects former special-forces troops with jobs that may
involve protecting people or places, or training foreign militaries.