Egypt – American Peacekeeping Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash

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Five American peacekeeping Soldiers were killed along with 2 coalition members when a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Egypt on Thursday.  One US soldier survived, but is in critical condition, and was medevaced. The Pentagon released the names of the Americans who died in the crash, which occurred on Tiran Island, near the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

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The military members were part of the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers, or MFO, a peacekeeping misson that monitors the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. The UH-60 crash is being classified as a “mechanical failure” at this point.

“The Defense Department is deeply saddened by the loss of five U.S. and two partner nation service members in a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula operating with the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers (MFO)… Yesterday we recognized the sacrifice of millions of American veterans who have defended our nation for generations, and today we are tragically reminded of the last full measure our uniformed warriors may pay for their service. I extend the Department’s condolences to the families, friends and teammates of these service members.” Christopher Miller, Acting Defense Secretary.

A Black Hawk of the Multinational Force and Observers. Photo by Task Force Sinai that monitors the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement.

The Pentagon released the names of those who perished in the crash. One Czech soldier and one French Air Force member also died.

– Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, of Katy, Texas;
– Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, of Fayetteville, N.C.;
– Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Mass.;
– Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, of Painesville, Ohio; and
– Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Ill.

The Czech soldier who died was Sgt. Maj. Michaela Ticha, 27. The French Air Force member was Lt. Col. Sébastien Botta, 44.

The Americans, according to Military Times:

Vandekamp was an Army doctor assigned to a medical company under Task Force Sinai.

He joined the Army after graduating from A.T. Still University Medical School in 2017. This was his first overseas assignment, arriving in Egypt this October.

Garza was a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Task Force Sinai’s aviation company. Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, he enlisted in the Army in 2005, commissioned in 2010 and arrived in Egypt in January.

Garza’s previous overseas assignments include tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His Iraq campaign medal includes an Arrowhead Device, meaning he participated in a helicopter assault, parachute jump or amphibious assault in the combat zone.

Ghabour was also a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Task Force Sinai’s aviation company. The Arlington, Massachusetts native commissioned as a warrant officer in 2018. This was his first overseas assignment, arriving in Egypt in January.

McKee was a UH-60 helicopter repairer assigned to Task Force Sinai’s aviation company. The Painesville, Ohio native first enlisted in 2003 and arrived in Egypt this July.

His previous overseas tours include time in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sherman was a UH-60 crew chief assigned to Task Force Sinai’s aviation company. Originally from Wateska, Illinois, he enlisted in 2015 and arrived in Egypt this October. His previous overseas assignments include tours in Korea and Afghanistan.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission released a statement that said, “At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident.” The investigation is ongoing.

 

Featured photo: From top left: Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman. All five U.S. soldiers were among the seven killed when their helicopter crashed in the Sinai. (US Army)

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