KABUL, Afghanistan (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Tarrant County native Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Knadle was among two servicemen killed when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.
The Defense Department said Thursday that Knadle and Kirk Fuchigami Jr. died when their helicopter crashed while providing security for troops on the ground in eastern Logar Province.
Knadle and Fuchigami were assigned to a unit from Fort Hood, Texas. Knadle was 33 years old and was from Tarrant County. Fuchigami was 25 and was from Hawaii.
Both men were AH-64 Apache pilots. Knadle joined the Army in 2013 and was assigned to 1-227th in 2015. Officials say his awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Combat Action Badge.
In a statement Lt. Col. Adam Camarano, commander of 1-227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, said, “[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.”
Both soldiers deployed to Afghanistan last month.
The helicopter crash is under investigation. The Taliban claimed to have shot the chopper down, but the U.S military dismissed that claim as false.
The crash brought the number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan this year to 19. There also have been three non-combat deaths this year. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year war.
President Donald Trump paid respects Thursday to the pair of Army officers.
The president and first lady Melania Trump, along with several senior aides, travelled to Delaware to meet with the families as they received the fallen soldiers’ remains.
Trump and the first lady were among a group of dignitaries, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who attended the roughly 12-minute ceremony and watched as six white-gloved members of the Army’s Old Guard carefully handled the flag-draped transfer cases holding the soldiers.
Trump and Milley saluted the soldiers, while the first lady and O’Brien stood with their hands over their hearts for the dignified transfer of remains.
Trump has said the responsibility of receiving the remains of fallen U.S. soldiers is “the toughest thing I have to do” as president.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)