Memorial held for 18 Americans killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan
By Associated Press
Friday, April 15, 2005

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - A memorial service was held Friday for 18 Americans killed when their helicopter crashed during a sandstorm in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.

The ceremony at Bagram, the American military's main base in Afghanistan, included remarks by senior American commanders and the playing of the national anthem.

The April 6 crash, which killed 15 soldiers and three civilian contractors, was the deadliest incident for Americans in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The three civilians worked for Houston-based Halliburton.

Fifteen sets of rifles, boots and helmets were placed behind pictures of the dead soldiers. Behind photos of the three civilian contractors stood boots, crosses and caps.

About 200 soldiers attended the ceremony at a hangar on the base.

The helicopter crashed about 80 miles south of Kabul while returning to Bagram from a mission to deliver mail and supplies and transport personnel in the insurgency-plagued south. The charred wreckage was found in a desert area near a cluster of brick kilns.

Officials reported no sign of enemy fire and suggested bad visibility and strong winds may have caused a fatal pilot error or technical problem.





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