The mood was somber Thursday morning in Morris Hill Chapel as hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the five Fort Riley soldiers who lost their lives in a helicopter accident on December 17th in southern Afghanistan.
“They loved flying, they all were very hard workers, and this is a tremendous loss not only to our nation and the Army and our unit, but to me personally because I knew each and every one of these soldiers,” said Colonel Matt Weinshel, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade.
The five 1st Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers were killed when their UH-60 Black Hawk crashed on December 17th in southern Afghanistan; and the timing of the accident was especially hard on the men’s families, friends and fellow soldiers.
“Every single loss is a major deal for us, it’s a major ordeal, but right before the holidays it makes it that much worse,” said Colonel Weinshel.
The cause of the accident is unknown at this time and is under investigation by the Army; but one this is clear, the five men who lost their lives were loving fathers, brothers and sons. Most importantly, they were five good men who will always be remembered as national heroes.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, Oklahoma, of Company B, 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kan.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, Arizona, of Co. B, 3rd AHB, 1st Avn. Regt., 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kan.
Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, Marietta, Ga., of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kan.
Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, Willow Spring, N.C., of Co. B, 3rd AHB, 1st Avn. Regt., 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kan.
Spc. Terry K.D. Gordon, 22, Shubuta, Miss., of Company E, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kan.