After serving 12 years in the Navy, Scott Helvenston started a career as a fitness instructor and worked as trainer and stunt man for such movies as “Face/Off” and “G.I. Jane.”
He helped prepare actress Demi Moore for her role as the first woman to join the Navy SEALs in “G.I. Jane,” and appeared on two reality series: “Man vs. Beast” and Burnett’s “Combat Missions.”
But after years out of the service, friends said they weren’t surprised to learn the former SEAL had left the comfort of his life in California behind him and headed for Iraq.
“That’s what, in a time of need, true American warriors like Scott would do,” producer Mark Burnett said Thursday.
Employees of security company
Helvenston, 38, was among four American civilian contractors killed in Fallujah, Iraq, in an ambush on Wednesday, their charred bodies mutilated and dragged through the streets. The contractors were working for Blackwater Security Consulting when their vehicle was hit by rocket-propelled grenades.
Two of the other victims have been identified as Jerko “Jerry” Zovko, 32, and Michael Teague, 38.
Zovko always wanted to save the world, his mother said. He joined the Army at 19 and spoke five languages fluently — English, Croatian, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
“Jerry was a man with a principle, an idea,” his mother, Danica “Donna” Zovko said in Willoughby, Ohio. “He loved people. He wanted the world to be without borders, for everybody to be free and safe.”
Teague was a 12-year Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Panama and Grenada, said his wife, Rhonda Teague. She said he received a bronze star for his service in Afghanistan.
Rhonda Teague 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, of Clarksville, Tenn., had worked in the security business since he left the Army six years ago, and joined Blackwater Security two months ago, WTVF-TV of Nashville reported.
Helvenston’s fitness company, Amphibian Athletics, promised to bring a Navy SEAL-style workout to his customers. His wife, Tricia, appeared in some of the company’s workout videos.
A neighbor in Oceanside, south of Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, said Helvenston was a devoted father to his children, Kyle and Kelsey, and often took them camping or surfing.
Blackwater Security, based in Moyock, N.C., provides security training and guard services to customers around the world. President Gary Jackson and two other company leaders are former Navy SEAL commandos.
A statement on the company’s Web site, blackwatersecurity.com, said officials were grieving for the employees.
“Our tasks are dangerous, and while we feel sadness for our fallen colleagues, we also feel pride and satisfaction that we are making a difference for the people of Iraq.”