WASHINGTON — Six soldiers, five from Fort Riley, were killed earlier this week in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
The Fort Riley soldiers were assigned to the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, and died when their UH-60 Black Hawk crashed in southern Afghanistan on December 17.
The men have identified as:
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, Okla.,
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz.,
Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, N.C.
Spc. Terry K.D. Gordon, 22, of Shubua, Miss.
Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Ford, 28, of Marietta, Ga.
The five above were stationed at Fort Riley.
Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30, of Elkhart, Ind., was also killed. He was stationed in Vilseck, Germany.
Senator Jerry Moran released this statement:
“Americans will be forever indebted to these brave soldiers who laid down their lives for our country,” Sen. Moran said. “As we pay tribute to their service and sacrifice, we are reminded that freedom is not free. I ask all Kansans to join me in remembering their families, friends and the Ft. Riley community in our thoughts and prayers.”
Previous AP story - Monday, December 16, 2013:
It's not clear what caused today's crash of a U.S. Army helicopter in southern Afghanistan that left six American service members dead. Another person on board was injured, but survived.
A statement from the NATO international military coalition says the crash of the Black Hawk UH-60 is under investigation, and that there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.
In Washington, an official initially said the helicopter had experienced engine failure, but later said it wasn't clear whether that was the case. According to initial reports, the troops had mechanical problems and came under fire after the crash. It's not known whether any of the casualties were the result of enemy fire.
Officials haven't yet identified those who were killed, or their service branches.