Two soldiers assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, were killed in Wednesday’s helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Logar Province, the Defense Department announced Thursday.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., both assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, at the base, died in the crash, Defense Department officials said.
Knadle, 33, was from Texas; Fuchigami, 25, was a native of Keaau, Hawaii, the release said.
"First Attack is saddened by the tragic loss of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr.," Lt. Col. Adam Camarano, commander of 1-227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, said in a statement. "Our heartfelt condolences go to both families and their friends during this difficult time. [They] will always be remembered as a part of the heroic legacy of the 1st Cavalry Division, forged by the sacrifices of brave Cavalry Troopers who have laid down their lives in defense of freedom."
Knadle joined the Army in April 2013 and was assigned to 1-227th as an Apache pilot in April 2015, officials said. His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Combat Action Badge.
Fuchigami entered active duty in May 2017 and was assigned to 1-227th as a pilot in October 2018. He had earned the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal and Combat Action Badge, among other awards.
They both deployed to Afghanistan in October.
Officials with U.S. Forces Afghanistan earlier this week said it did not appear that the helicopter was brought down by enemy fire. It crashed while providing security for troops on the ground in eastern Afghanistan. The incident remains under investigation, the DoD said.
Sixteen U.S. troops have been killed in action in Afghanistan in 2019, according to the latest statistics provided by the Defense Casualty Analysis System. It marks the deadliest year for American personnel there since the U.S. formally ended combat operations in 2014.
-- Gina Harkins contributed to this report.