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General Mourns Airmen Killed in F-15E Crash

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2009 – The commander of U.S. Air Forces Central expressed condolences to the families and friends of two Air Force officers killed early July 18 in the crash of an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet that was flying in support of coalition operations in eastern Afghanistan.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and loved ones … and to the airmen and the joint and coalition team members who called them friends and will miss their fellow warriors," Air Force Lt. Gen. Gary North said.

Air Force Capt. Thomas J. Gramith, 27, of Eagan, Minn., and Air Force Capt. Mark R. McDowell, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo., were killed in the crash. They were assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

The airmen’s bodies will be returned to their families through a dignified transfer from Afghanistan to the United States, officials said.

The crash was not due to hostile fire, officials said, and a board of officers will investigate the crash.

Meanwhile, an Army helicopter made an emergency landing in Afghanistan’s Kunar province yesterday.

The aircraft landed near a military base, and the site was immediately secured upon landing, officials said. No enemy activity was reported in the area at the time. Personnel on the aircraft were treated on site and evacuated to the nearest medical facility for further treatment.

The incident is under investigation.

(Compiled from U.S. Air Forces Central and U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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