The Pentagon identified the soldier missing from a Black Hawk helicopter crash last week off the coast of Yemen as Army Staff Sgt. Emil Rivera-Lopez. His body has not been recovered since the Aug. 25 crash and he is presumed dead, a Defense Department spokesman said.
Rivera-Lopez was listed as "duty status: whereabouts unknown," the Pentagon said Friday in a statement.
The Pentagon declined to provide additional information about Rivera-Lopez, including his age or unit. However, a defense official said Rivera-Lopez was assigned to the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The unit, known as the Night Stalkers, specializes in flying difficult nighttime missions, often ferrying ground special operations troops into battle.
Five other soldiers were rescued after the helicopter crash, which took place about 20 miles off Yemen's coast during a training flight. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the Pentagon said, which also confirmed the helicopter was not involved in a combat mission.
The military has a small number of troops deployed in Yemen to aid the fight against an al-Qaida group in the country. It has conducted ground raids this year against the terrorist group there, including an operation in late January in which Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William Owens was killed, and an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft was destroyed after it crashed.