The U.S. Defense Department on Sunday identified the Army special operations helicopter pilot killed in Afghanistan.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jacob Michael Sims, 36, a native of Oklahoma, died and six other crew members were injured when the helicopter they were flying in crashed late Friday in Logar province in the eastern part of the country south of Kabul, according to information released by U.S. Special Operations Command.
Contrary to claims by the Taliban, which reportedly controls half the province, the accident wasn't the result of enemy action, according to a separate release from the NATO-led train-and-advise mission in the country.
Stars & Stripes reported the helicopter had taken troops to the volatile Kharwar district for a night raid and hit a tree, forcing an emergency landing, citing information from Salim Saleh, the provincial governor's spokesman.
The other U.S. troops wounded in the accident received medical treatment and the incident remains under investigation, according to the Pentagon.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our comrade," Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander in Afghanistan, said in the release. "On behalf of all of Resolute Support, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen comrade and those injured in this unfortunate event."
Sims was an 18-year veteran of the service with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan who was qualified to fly the UH-60 Black Hawk and the CH-47 Chinook, including the special operations variant MH-47G, according to his biography.
In 1999, he enlisted in the Army and completed basic training and advanced individual training before being assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. After completing warrant officer flight training, he became a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and was assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
In 2014, he volunteered to serve in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). He was assigned to Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He also served as a MH-47G pilot-in-command and company aviation safety officer.
Sims was a veteran of a deployment to Kosovo, and multiple tours of duty in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He received numerous awards and decorations during his career in uniform.
They include the Air Medal (with Combat Device), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Unit Citation (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters) Army Good Conduct Medal (4th Award), National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with 1 Bronze Campaign Star), Iraqi Campaign Medal (with 2 Bronze Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2nd Award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal (3rd Award), Air Assault Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Sapper Tab, Basic Aviator Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.
"On behalf of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to the family of CW2 Jacob Sims," Col. Philip Ryan, the commander of the 160th SOAR (A), said in a release.
"Jacob lived by a creed that few understand and even fewer embody," Ryan added. "He will not be forgotten and his legacy will endure through his family, friends, and fellow Night Stalkers. You have our unwavering support, and always have a welcome place among the Night Stalker family."