Five of the six Americans killed in a helicopter crash on Monday have been identified as soldiers from Fort Riley. All five of them were all members of the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Combat Aviation Brigade.
A statement from Fort Riley on Wednesday identified the victims as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, and Spc. Terry K.D. Gordon. (more information listed below)
Staff Sgt Jesse Williams of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, was also killed in the crash.
"It's very sad. I mean, it's during the holidays. You hate to hear fellow brothers or sisters falling in the line of duty," said Sgt Carlos Valez.
"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Families and friends of these 'Big Red One' Soldiers," Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, said.
"We stand ready to support them and I urge our community and the nation, while remembering their sacrifices this holiday season, to do the same."
Seven people were aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk, which was one of two American helicopters on a daytime mission in southern Afghanistan, when it crashed.
"They served the country right. They did what they had to do and it's sad we can't see them come home and celebrate with them," said Sgt. Patrick Yekaldo.
Officials said they are not sure what cause the helicopter to go down, but those who were aboard the second chopper said they saw no signs of enemy fire.
There were initial reports that the crew of the downed aircraft came under fire as they tried to flee from the copter, but those reports have not been confirmed.