Chief Warrant Officer from Hawai‘i Killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash
A soldier from Hawaiʻi is among two casualties confirmed today by the US Department of Defense.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, from Keaʻau, Hawaiʻi, died when the helicopter he was in crashed while providing security for troops on the ground, according to military officials. The incident occurred on Nov. 20, 2019 in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
Military officials say Fuchigami entered active duty in May 2017 and following his initial training, he was assigned to 1-227th in October 2018 where he served as an Apache Helicopter pilot.
Fuchigami’s was a decorated soldier with awards that included the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge and Army Aviator Badge.
Defense officials say that also killed was Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, from Tarrant, Texas. He entered active duty in April 2013 and following his initial training, he was assigned to 1-227th in April 2015 where he served as an Apache Helicopter pilot.
Both soldiers were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) issued a statement saying, “Chief Warrant Officer Two Kirk Fuchigami served our country with courage and distinction. His death is a loss that will be felt across the Big Island and the state of Hawai‘i, and as a nation, we will always remember his sacrifice. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, family, and friends during this very difficult time. We only hope that they find comfort in knowing that his service exceeded all measures of honor. In life, Chief Warrant Officer Two Fuchigami was a guardian of liberty. In rest, may he find the peace we all seek.”
“First Attack is saddened by the tragic loss of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr.,” said Lt. Col. Adam Camarano, commander, 1-227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. “Our heartfelt condolences go to both families and their friends during this difficult time. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Knadel and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Fuchigami will always be remembered as a part of the heroic legacy of the 1st Cavalry Division; forged by the sacrifices of brave Cavalry Troopers who have laid down their lives in defense of freedom.”
The crash remains under investigation.