By Debbie Gregory.
On December 17, six U.S. Army soldiers were killed in Afghanistan when their Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter crashed. The deceased soldiers were identified as:
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, OK.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, AZ.
Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30, of Elkhart, IN.
Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, of Marietta, GA.
Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, NC.
Spc. Terry K. D. Gordon, 22, of Shubuta, MS.
Another soldier, whose name has not yet been revealed, survived the crash with serious injuries. The soldiers were believed to have been assigned to the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kansas.
The Army has yet to officially reveal any information about the crash because its cause is still under investigation. Two speculative theories have been leaked to the media. One was that the helicopter experienced engine failure just before the crash. The other was that the helicopter crashed due to mechanical problems and then came under fire after the crash. Neither report has been confirmed.
A statement released by NATO said that the crash was under investigation and that there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.
109 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan in 2013. Additionally, 30 other coalition members have died. While still high, these numbers are down from the 297 Americans and 97 of our allies killed last year.
But every loss of an American life is one too many. It is the ambition of every soldier, sailor, marine, airman and guardsman who deploys to return home safely. It is the goal of every NCO and Commanding Officer to bring every single one of the men and women who serve under them back alive. And it is the wish of every parent, spouse and child to see their hero come home.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible. There are no words or gestures that can undo the pain caused by the loss of a family member or a comrade. All that is left is to honor our fallen heroes by remembering who they were and what they stood for.
CWO2 Billings, CWO2 Silverman, Staff Sgt. Williams, Sgt. 1st Class Forde, Sgt. Bohler, and Spc. Gordon– MilitaryConnection thanks you for your service and your sacrifice. May you be remembered for the heroes that you are. And may your families and comrades find peace following this tragedy.