Two of the four men killed in the crash of a U.S. Air Force MC-12 aircraft in Afghanistan Saturday were from Beale Airforce Base.
The two Beale airmen were Capt. Reid Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii, who was assigned to the 427th Reconnaissance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Richard Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova. Both were on board an MC-12 Liberty plane, also deployed from Beale, that crashed near Kandahar Air Field Saturday, according to a Beale statement.
The twin-engine turboprop plane provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance or direct support to ground forces. It crashed in Zabul province, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Kandahar Air Field, according to the Air Force.
Also killed in the wreck were 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Daniel Fannin of Morehead, Ky. and Capt. Brandon Cyr of Virginia, the Air Force said.
The four Air Force service members were deployed to the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron with the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing at Kandahar Air Field, the statement said. Their bodies were recovered. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but NATO has said initial reports indicate there was no enemy activity in the area where the plane went down.
“All of us are saddened at the loss of Capt. Nishizuka and Staff Sgt. Dickson,” said Col. Phil Stewart, installation commander at Beale, in a statement. “The Air Force is a tight-knit family, and it hurts to lose a wingman in combat. I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends impacted by this tragedy; our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
There are about 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan, including 66,000 Americans. A top priority of the U.S. force, which is slated to drop to about 32,000 by February 2014, is boosting the strength and confidence of Afghan forces.
“Please respect the families’ privacy as they grieve the loss of these loved ones,” Stewart said.
The Associated Press’ Rahim Faiez and Thomas Wagner contributed to this report. To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.