A 29-year-old Army officer from Cathedral City was identified on Monday as one of the seven U.S. service members killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week, according to the Department of Defense.
Chief Warrant Officer Suresh Krause was killed when a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter he was piloting crashed in Kandahar Province on Aug. 16, officials said. The service members were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, part of the war in Afghanistan, which started in 2001.
Krause was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, according to the Department of Defense.
Krause, who joined the Army in February 2007 and became a Black Hawk pilot in June 2009, was on his second deployment, military officials said.
Among the awards and decorations earned by Krause during his five-year service were the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Army Aviator Badge.
Casualties from the Aug. 16 crash included three U.S. special operations troops, four American crew members, three Afghan special operations soldiers and a civilian interpreter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Four Afghans died in the crash.
Two service members from California were killed in the incident, Krause and Sgt. Richard A. Essex, 23, of Kelseyville.
Defense officials identified the other service members killed in the crash as:
The cause of the crash is under investigation, but a U.S. military officer in Afghanistan speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Times that it is "conceivable" that enemy fire took down the Black Hawk.
The helicopter burned when it crashed, making it more difficult to determine the cause, the Times reported.