The Pentagon has identified the pilots killed Memorial Day when their helicopter was shot down near Muqdadiyah, Iraq.

First Lt. Keith N. Heidtman and Chief Warrant Officer Theodore U. Church — both assigned to 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade — were killed “when their OH-58D Kiowa helicopter crashed after receiving heavy enemy fire during combat operations,†a Pentagon statement read.

Both were stationed with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

An insurgent group called the Islamic State of Iraq has claimed responsibility for the incident.

Heidtman, 24, had arrived in December for his first Iraq tour of duty, family said. He had graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2005 and was a native of Norwich.

“Quite frankly, we are struggling,†Chris Heidtman, Keith’s uncle, told The Day newspaper in his hometown. “The second day is a little harder. The reality is starting to set in.â€

“The fact that everyone is distraught is a testament to what kind of guy Keith was. He was such a wonderful man.â€

Heidtman was being remembered as a “quiet leader†who was also a standout baseball and basketball player in high school.

There was little biographical information about Church available Friday.

The 32-year-old from South Point, Ohio, was also known by his nickname “TUC,†a combination of his initials, family said.

A Schofield Barracks public affairs officer said Church’s family had declined to comment on the soldier’s death.

Six other soldiers, en route to the crash scene as a quick reaction force, were killed when their vehicles were hit by roadside bombs. Those soldiers have not yet been publicly identified by the Pentagon.

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