Troops killed in aircraft crash were based out of Ft. Riley

FT. RILEY, Kan. - The Department of Defense said Thursday that five of the six Americans killed in a Blackhawk helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan were members of the 1st Infantry Division, combat aviation brigade, based out of Fort Riley, Kan.

The five Fort Riley soldiers were identified as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings of Heavener, Okla.; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Silverman of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sgt. Peter Bohler of Willow Spring, N.C.;  Sgt. 1st Class Omar Forde of Marietta, Ga.; and Spc. Terry Gordon of Shubuta, Miss.

A sixth soldier, based in Vilseck, Germany, was identified as Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams of Elkhart, Ind.

The Army on Thursday confirmed the soldiers died when their Black Hawk UH-60 went down Tuesday during a mission. One soldier survived the crash.

NBC News called the crash the single deadliest incident for US forces in Afghanistan in more than a year.

The fatalities were the first for Ft. Riley soldiers deployed abroad since a November, 2012 IED attack in Afghanistan, according to iCasualties.com

The cause of the crash in a mountainous region of Southern Afghanistan remains under investigation. NBC News, citing Afghan sources, has reported a pitched gun battle around the time of the crash and in its aftermath.

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