The United States Army has released the names of the five Americans who were on a peacekeeping mission before their death in Egypt in a helicopter crash. The crash which happened on Thursday morning in the southern Sinai Peninsula took the lives of seven soldiers five of whom were Americans. According to the Czech Defense Ministry, the Black Hawk helicopter went down as a result of technical issues.
The five US soldiers who died in the crash are 31-year-old Seth Vernon Vandekamp, a captain from Katy, Texas; 34-year-old Dallas Gearld Garza, a Chief Warrant Officer 3 from Fayetteville, North Carolina; 27-year-old Marwan Sameh Ghabour, a Chief Warrant Officer 2 from Marlborough, Massachusetts; 35-year-old Kyle Robert McKee, a Staff Sergeant from Painesville, Ohio; and 23-year-old Jeremy Cain Sherman, a sergeant from Watseka, Illinois.
The helicopter was supplying items to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), a peacekeeping effort, founded in 1981 to govern the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. A female Czech soldier Sgt. Michaela Ticha, as stated by the Czech authorities, and a French national was also killed in the crash. Sgt. Ticha is the first female soldier in Czech to lose her life while on a foreign mission since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, according to authorities.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has also stated that an American soldier survived the crash and was moved to a hospital in Israel by the IDF. The MFO has about 1,150 personnel, 450 of whom are Americans. Others are nationals of 12 other countries including the Czech Republic and France.
The Czech Defense Ministry announced that investigations are ongoing into the crash as a local terrorist group connected to ISIS has been terrorizing civilians and government forces in the area in recent times. About four years ago after several militant raids, a large number of US troops were moved deeper to the southern Sinai Peninsula which was thought to be more protected and the use of remote technology for missions was increased, WCVB reports.
One of the American officers, Ghabour from Malborough, Massachusetts was on his first mission abroad when he died. He was commissioned as a warrant officer in 2018 and has been decorated with the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Aviation Badge.
Three senators representing Massachusetts – Rep. Lori Trahan, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Ed Markey released a statement mourning the loss of the state and emphasizing the risk members of the US forces take to protect the nation and the world at large.
“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the tragedy of their deaths,” Col. David A. Sentell, Commander of Task Force Sinai, stated. “We offer our condolences to their families, friends, and loved ones, and we hope they always remember that as a nation we will continue to honor the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.”