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The Pentagon late Wednesday identified two pilots whose helicopter was shot down in Iraq this week as members of a special operations aviation group.

Maj. Matthew W. Worrel and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jamie D. Weeks were killed May 14 in Youssifiyah. The two were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

The Pentagon did not identify what kind of aircraft the pair flew, but according to globalsecurity.com, the 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR flies the AH-6H/J and MH-6H/J Little Bird and the MH-60 Pave Hawk.

The battalion is usually assigned to support special operations troops including Delta Force and SEAL teams.

Youssifiyah, about 10 miles south of Baghdad, is a hotbed of insurgent activity. Earlier this month, U.S. officials intimated that al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Mussab al Zarqawi could be hiding in the area.

An Apache helicopter was shot down on April 1 in the same area.

Worrel, 34, was a native of Lewisville, Texas, the Pentagon said, and was a husband and father of two children. Worrell was an 11-year veteran of the Army and served as a platoon leader for the special operations group after previously serving in the 101st Airborne Division, Army officials said.

In a written statement released by his family, Worrel was called a hero who loved flying.

“He never doubted why he was there,” the family said. “Matt died doing something he deeply believed in.”

Weeks, 47, of Daleville, Ala., was being remembered by friends and family as a devoted soldier and family man with a wife and four daughters. His brother, Army Lt. Col. Joel Weeks, is serving in Afghanistan and accompanied his brother’s casket back to the United States, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.

Brenda Parks, Weeks’ sister, told the newspaper that as a military family, “this kind of thing is a reality for us.”

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