Jalalabad Air Base in northeastern Afghanistan has been renamed Forward Operating Base Fenty in honor of a U.S. helicopter pilot who was killed in a crash last year.

About 250 American, Afghan and coalition soldiers and officials gathered Saturday to dedicate the airfield to Lt. Col. Joseph J. Fenty, according to a news release from Task Force Spartan.

Fenty, who commanded 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, was killed May 5, 2006, while flying on a mission from the airfield.

The 41-year-old squadron commander and Chinook pilot was trying to oversee the extraction of his troopers from the Chowkay Valley in northeastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province, the release said.

Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai, governor of Nangarhar province; Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, 10th Mountain Division’s commander when Fenty assumed command of his squadron; and representatives of Combined Joint Task Force-82, the 201st Afghan National Army Corps and the International Security Assistance Force attended the ceremony.

“It was out of this gate and onto that airfield that Joe walked a year ago today, to board that Chinook to extract his soldiers from a dangerous spot in the Chowkay Valley,” said Col. John Nicholson, Task Force Spartan commander, according to the release.

Fenty, a native of Long Island, N.Y., served 20 years in the Army. According to the release, he is survived by his wife, Kristin, and a daughter born shortly before his death.

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