The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Knadle, 33, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk Fuchigami Jr., 25, were killed after their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan’s Logar province, according to the Pentagon.
The soldiers, both assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division based out of Fort Hood in Texas, were providing security for troops on the ground at the time of the wreck.
The Pentagon said the incident is being investigated.
Knadle, from Tarrant, Texas and Fuchigami, from Keaanu, Hawaii, both deployed to Afghanistan in Oct. 2019 and served in the Army as Apache helicopter pilots.
Knadle, who had earned awards including the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal and Army Achievement Medal, joined the Army as an active duty soldier in April 2013 and was subsequently assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment in April 2015, according to the 1st Cavalry Division.
Fuchigami also earned awards including the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He became an active duty soldier in May 2017 and joined the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment in Oct. 2018.
“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 the 1-227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, said in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences go to both families and their friends during this difficult time.”
He added that both soldiers would “always be remembers 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.”
The U.S.-led NATO coalition Resolute Support said Wednesday that initial reports did not suggest enemy fire was responsible for the crash.
“The cause of the crash is under investigation, however preliminary reports do not indicate it was caused by enemy fire,” Resolute Support said in a statement Wednesday.
However, the Taliban later claimed it shot a helicopter in eastern Logar province, and Taliban spokesperson said the crash happened at approximately 1 a.m.
A total of 19 U.S. troops have been killed in combat in Afghanistan this year, marking the highest number of losses since 2014. Separately, there have also been three non-combat deaths in Afghanistan this year.