The Pentagon said on Saturday that among the five Americans killed in a helicopter crash in Egypt, it included an army doctor and three veterans from the Afghanistan War on its first overseas mission.
A total of seven international peacekeepers, including a French air force officer and a Czech soldier, were killed when the UH-60 Black Hawk, in which they were traveling, crashed near the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday.
A survivor, an American service member serving in the Multinational Force and Observers mission, was injured and medically evacuated.
A Pentagon statement described the five dead Americans as:
Captain Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, Katy, Texas;
Chief Legal Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, Fayetteville, N.C .;
Chief Executive Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Mass;
Staff Sergeant. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, of Painesville, Ohio; and
Sergeant. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, Watseka, Ill.
“We are deeply sorry to mourn this tragic loss of life,” said Colonel David S. Sentell, the commander of Task Force Sinai. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of our fallen at this most difficult time. They should know that their nation will continue to honor their sacrifices. ”
The US Army task force, consisting of approximately 450 active duty, reserve and National Guard units, is the largest unit of the Multinational Force and Observers. The peacekeeping mission consists of approximately 1,150 soldiers from 13 countries and has been monitoring since 1981 compliance with the Israel-Egypt peace agreement signed in 1979.
South Camp, Egypt headquarters and logistics center, is located on a cliff near Sharm El Sheikh, facing the sea.
US troops also operate and patrol the area, according to the MFO website, and says an Army support element provides aviation, logistics, medical, and explosive ordnance disposal personnel.
Vandekamp, an Army doctor, was assigned to Task Force Sinai medical company. A.T.’s 2017 graduate, the U.S. Army Center said in a statement that still University Medical School in Missouri joined the Army that year and went to Egypt on his first overseas mission last month.
The other four killed were part of the aviation company, which the MFO website says consisted of eight Black Hawk helicopters and a C-12 Huron aircraft for reconnaissance, shipping, replenishment, medical evacuation and other missions.
Garza, a Black Hawk pilot, enrolled in Ordu in 2005 and was commissioned in 2010. He arrived in Egypt in January, but had previously served on overseas tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Appreciation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and a Joint Merit Service Medal.
Ghabour, also a Black Hawk pilot, was assigned as a search warrant officer two years ago and arrived in Egypt in January. This was his first mission abroad.
The US Army Center said McKee, a helicopter mechanic who joined the Army in 2003, served in South Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. He won a Combat Action Badge and many other awards and decorations, as well as an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
Sherman, the youngest of the crew members, was a crew chief who enlisted in 2015 and arrived in Egypt last month. He had previously served in South Korea and Afghanistan and his awards and insignia included the Army Commendation Medal and Army Merit Medal.
“I join all Americans to honor their sacrifices, for keeping their loved ones in my prayers,” said Joe Biden, who was elected president, on Thursday.
The French air and space forces previously identified Lieutenant Colonel Sebastien Botta, the 21-year-old senior and deputy head of the MFO liaison office, as one of the other service members who died in the crash.
Czech army Sgt. The chief of general staff of the Czech Republic said on Thursday that Michaela Ticha was also killed in the crash.
“We lost one of us,” said Czech General Ales Opata. “I’m so sorry … My sincere condolences to the family.”
Spokesperson Captain Paul O’Daniel said in a phone call Saturday that the US Army Headquarters had no other information to give about the wounded soldier’s condition. The condition of the US soldier was reported to be critical earlier in the week.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but MFO said it appeared to be a mechanical failure.
“These kinds of tragedies are felt across our nation,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said on Friday.
Next month, Fort Campbell, Ky. Will celebrate the 35th anniversary of a more deadly aviation tragedy that struck the US Army MFO unit in its early years.
The 3rd Battalion of the 101st Airborne Company, 248 members of the 502nd Infantry Regiment who had returned from a deployment to peacekeeping duty, were killed along with eight crews of the Arrow Air DC-8 jetliner, which crashed shortly after taking off from a plane. Refueling stop at Gander, Newfoundland, Canada on December 12, 1985. It was among the deadliest events for the story episode.