Benning Rangers among 8 killed
U.S. soldiers died in copter crash in Afghanistan over weekend
BY MICK WALSH
Two of the eight U.S. soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Sunday were Army Rangers from Fort Benning.
Killed in the crash were Pfc. Ryan C. Garbs, 20, of Edwardsville, Ill., and Pfc. Kristofer D. Thomas, 18, of Roseville, Calif. Both were members of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75 Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, according to the Department of Defense.
The father of Garbs said Tuesday that he was notified late Sunday that his son was one of the victims.
A call to the Garbs family from Lt. Col. Sean Jenkins, commander of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, confirmed that Garbs had been aboard the CH-47 Chinook that crashed.
Garbs' death follows by nine days that of fellow Ranger Sgt. James J. Regan of Manhasset, N.Y. He was killed Feb. 9 in Iraq when a roadside bomb was detonated near the vehicle in which he was riding.
The deaths are the first of Fort Benning soldiers this year.
Doug and Jill Garbs said their son joined the Army right after graduation from Edwardsville High School in 2005. This was his second tour of duty in the Middle East, having already served in Iraq.
"He was focused pretty much on getting into the Army after school," Doug Garbs told the Edwardsville Intelligencer on Monday. He had a goal, a purpose, a plan. He was committed to being an Army Ranger even as a junior in high school."
Garbs said he and his wife supported their son's decision to join the Army.
They traveled to Fort Benning to see him graduate from basic training, Airborne school and Ranger school.
The Associated Press reported that after radioing in an unexplained loss of power and engine failure, the twin-rotor Chinook went down in Zabul province, just 50 yards from the main Kabul-Kandahar highway. Eight of the 22 U.S. personnel aboard perished.