Army identifies 5 Americans killed in Egypt helicopter crash

National

Courtesy: U.S. Army (Pictured: Staff Sgt. McKee, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Garza, Capt. Vandekamp)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five American soldiers killed in a helicopter crash this week while on a peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula included one who left behind a wife pregnant with their daughter.

The soldiers were part of an international force that monitors the four-decade-old Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. The Multinational Force and Observers said the soldiers were on a routine mission when the Black Hawk helicopter crashed Thursday near Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular Egyptian resort on the Red Sea.

A French peacekeeper and Czech officer also were killed, and a sixth American on the helicopter was injured.

The Army said the cause of the crash is still under investigation. On the day of the crash, the MFO said at that point there were no signs of an attack and it appeared to have been an accident.

“It is with profound sadness that we mourn this tragic loss of life,” said Col. David S. Sentell, the commander of Task Force Sinai. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of our fallen during this most difficult time. They should know that their nation will continue to honor their sacrifice.”

The Army identified the dead as Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, North Carolina; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Massachusetts; Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio; and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Illinois.

McKee, who’d served as a crew chief in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea, was the father of two boys, 11 and 3. His wife, Nikki, is due to deliver their daughter “at any time,” said McKee’s father, Steve McKee.

Because of the pandemic, Kyle McKee was unable to be with his wife for the birth, and remained on duty in Egypt, his father said.

Thirteen countries contribute troops to the peacekeeping force, with the United States making up the largest contingent. The responsibilities include monitoring troop levels along the border and ensuring the freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran.

Below are the service bios for the five soldiers from the U.S. Army:

CPT VANDEKAMP
Capt. Seth V. Vandekamp, 31, was an Army doctor assigned to Medical Company, Task Force Sinai. A 2017 graduate of A.T. Still University Medical School, Vandekamp joined the Army in 2017. This was his first overseas assignment, arriving to Egypt in October 2020.
Vandekamp’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

CW3 GARZA
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas G. Garza, 34, was a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Aviation Company, Task Force Sinai. Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, he enlisted in the Army in 2005, commissioned in 2010, and arrived to Egypt in January 2020. His previous overseas assignments include tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Garza’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Meritorious Service Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal w/Arrowhead Device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, the Senior Army Aviator Badge, the Army Aviator Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

CW2 GHABOUR
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan S. Ghabour, 27, was a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Aviation Company, Task Force Sinai. Originally from Arlington, Massachusetts, he commissioned as a warrant officer in 2018. This was his first overseas assignment, arriving to Egypt in January 2020.
Ghabour’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Aviation Badge.

SSG MCKEE
Staff Sgt. Kyle R. McKee, 35, was a UH-60 Helicopter Reparier assigned to Aviation Company, Task Force Sinai. Originally from Painesville, Ohio, he enlisted in the Army in 2003 and arrived in Egypt in July 2020. His previous overseas tours include tours in Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
McKee’s awards and decorations include the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, Senior Aircrew Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge

SGT SHERMAN
Sgt. Jeremy C. Sherman, 23, was a UH-60 crew chief assigned to Aviation Company, Task Force Sinai. Originally from Wateska, Illinois, he enlisted in 2015 and arrived in Egypt in October 2020. His previous overseas assignments include tours in Korea and Afghanistan.
Sherman’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

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