Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Knadle, 33, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk Fuchigami Jr., 25, were both Apache pilots assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
They died when their helicopter crashed in the Logar Province, south of Kabul, while providing security to troops on the ground, a defense official told Fox News.
“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.”
A statement from the U.S.-led NATO coalition Resolute Support said initial reports did not indicate the crash was caused by enemy fire.
“The cause of the crash is under investigation, however preliminary reports do not indicate it was caused by enemy fire,” the statement read.
Both men deployed to the region last month. President Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Thursday in an unannounced visit to watch the flagged-draped caskets with the two soldiers arrive in the United States.
Knadle joined the Army in April 2013. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal and Army Achievement Medal. Fuchigami also earned awards including the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal and the National Defense Service Medal and joined the Army in May 2017.
Camarano said the pair 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.”