US Army identifies 5 soldiers killed in Sinai helicopter crash

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The soldiers were part of the peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.

The U.S. Army has identified the five soldiers killed in Egypt on Thursday when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed from an apparent mechanical malfunction. The soldiers were part of the international force of peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula monitoring the 1978 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Killed in the crash were Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, an Army doctor 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.

Vandekamp, Garza, McKee and Sherman were active-duty Army soldiers and Ghabour was an Army reservist on a yearlong deployment as part of the international peacekeeping force in the Sinai known as the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).

The MFO has been in the Sinai since 1981 following Israel’s transfer of the peninsula back to Egypt as part of the 1978 peace treaty between the two countries. The U.S. component to the force, known as Task Force Sinai, currently has 452 service members serving as part of the force of 1,145 peacekeepers that implement the treaty.

A Czech service member and a French service member were also killed in Thursday’s crash. Another American service member was injured and was medically evacuated to a hospital in Israel for treatment.

The UH-60 helicopter crashed on Tirian Island, just east of the Sinai Peninsula. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but the MFO said in a statement on Thursday that all indications are that it was “mechanical in nature.”

“It is with profound sadness that we mourn this tragic loss of life,” said Col. David S. Sentell, 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 MFO’s headquarters is in Rome, with most personnel operating out of South Camp located in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and Forward Operating Base North located near El Gorah, Egypt.