Officials identify soldiers in crash

By Kristina Jackson

The Department of Defense has identified five Fort Riley soldiers killed in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan.

The soldiers were members of the 1st Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade and went down in Now Bahar, Afghanistan Tuesday while there supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The five soldiers stationed at Fort Riley were identified Thursday afternoon as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, Okla.; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sgt. Peter Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, N.C.; Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, of Marietta, Ga.; and Spc. Terry K.D. Gordon, 22, of Shubuta, Miss.

Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams, who was serving with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment of Vilseck, Germany, was also killed.

Another member of the Combat Aviation Brigade, Pfc. Jayson Morton, was injured in the incident.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these ‘Big Red One’ soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general in a statement.

“We stand ready to support them, and I urge our community and the nation, while remembering their sacrifices this holiday season, to do the same.”

Sen. Jerry Moran also released a statement about the crash late Thursday morning.

“Americans will be forever indebted to these brave soldiers who laid down their lives for our country,” Moran said.

“As we pay tribute to their service and sacrifice, we are reminded that freedom is not free. I ask all Kansans to join me in remembering their families, friends and the Fort Riley community in our thoughts and prayers.”

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