Support our mission

Four of the U.S. servicemembers who died in a fiery helicopter crash this week in Afghanistan are believed to be from units based in Vicenza, Italy, an Army official said Friday.

The four soldiers have been classified as missing, said Margret Menzies, spokeswoman for the 22nd Area Support Group. Their next of kin have been informed that the soldiers’ whereabouts are unknown, she said.

Sixteen people were killed Wednesday afternoon when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which they were riding crashed in Ghazni province.

The military has said that 13 of the 16 people were American military personnel, and three were U.S. government contractors. Two other U.S. servicemembers were unaccounted for, spokeswoman Navy Lt. Cindy Moore said Thursday in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A mortuary affairs team from Bagram was continuing its investigation on Friday.

The specific units of the dead have not been released, and Menzies would not say to which units the Vicenza-based soldiers were assigned.

About 2,000 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, along with 250 members of the Southern European Task Force and a small number of 14th Transportation Battalion soldiers from Vicenza currently are deployed to Afghanistan, Menzies said.

Moore would not confirm that Vicenza-based soldiers were involved in the crash, saying that all information must be released by the Department of Defense.

It’s unclear if any other Europe-based troops were on board the helicopter.

“Any [V Corps soldiers] in Afghanistan are assigned to [U.S. Central Command],” said Hilde Patton, V Corps spokeswoman. “It is not within our purview to provide any information on [the crash].”

The command could release further information once the names of the dead have been released, Patton said.

The Honolulu Advertiser reported Friday that Maj. Gen. Eric T. Olson, commander of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, said that two of that unit’s soldiers were aboard the Chinook.

And a story in Friday’s Evansville (Ind.) Courier and Press said that a Marine from Mount Vernon, Ind., was killed in the crash, according to his family.

Stars and Stripes reporters Rick Emert, Russ Rizzo and Kent Harris contributed to this report.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up