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Airmen Killed In Afghanistan Crash Identified

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Officials have identified the two airmen deployed out of Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts who died in a plane crash in Afghanistan shortly after midnight Thursday.

The Department of Defense confirmed that Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, of Pensacola, Florida, and Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, of McDonough, Georgia, died when the military transport plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan.

The airmen were assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron at Hanscom and were deployed to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.

A U.S. Airman stands at a parade rest during a fallen comrade memorial ceremony in Afghanistan held in honor of the six airmen who died in a plane crash on Oct. 2, 2015. (Senior Airman Cierra Presentado/U.S. Air Force)
A U.S. Airman stands at a parade rest during a fallen comrade memorial ceremony in Afghanistan held in honor of the six airmen who died in a plane crash on Oct. 2, 2015. (Senior Airman Cierra Presentado/U.S. Air Force)

"These airmen were rock stars. Their enthusiasm and dedication inspired peers and unit leadership alike. This is the type of young airmen the Air Force needs more of," said 66th Security Forces Squadron Commander Maj. Joseph Bincarousky in a statement. "Their absence is palpable."

Sartain and Ruiz were among six U.S. airmen who died in the crash at Jalalabad Airfield, about 80 miles from Kabul. The other four airmen were deployed from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.

The Department of Defense identified them as Capt. Jonathan J. Golden, 33, of Camarillo, California; Capt. Jordan B. Pierson, 28, of Abilene, Texas; Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Hammond, 26, of Moundsville, West Virginia; and Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris, 21, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Five civilian passengers on the plane, who were working with NATO's Resolute Support mission, and an unknown number of people on the ground also died, WBUR reported Friday.

On Friday, U.S. Air Force Maj. Tony Wickman, spokesman for the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, said an investigation is underway and that "it does not appear that enemy fire was involved."

The remains of the airmen will be flown back to the U.S. through Dover Air Force Base at a future date, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.

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Amy Gorel Twitter Producing Editor, The ARTery
Amy Gorel is the producing editor of The ARTery.

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