(BIVN) – A 25 year old U.S. Army soldier from Keaʻau has died in Afghanistan.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr of the 1st Cavalry Division was killed on November 20 in Logar Province, Afghanistan. Fuchigami was involved in a helicopter crash while providing security for troops on the ground in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, from Tarrant, Texas, was also killed.
“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 Department of Defense provided this additional information on Fuchigami:
Fuchigami, whose home of record is listed as Keaau, Hawaii, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He 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 awards and decorations include 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.
Fuchigami deployed to Afghanistan in October 2019. The incident remains under investigation, defense officials say.
UPDATE (10:40 a.m.) – U.S Senator from Hawaiʻi, Brian Schatz, released the following statement on the death of Fuchigami:
“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.”
UPDATE (3:15 p.m.) – Governor David Ige released this statement:
“The people of Hawaiʻi join me in extending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami, Jr., who paid the ultimate price for our freedom while serving his country in Afghanistan. Let us come together to support the family of this fallen soldier and honor his life, now and in the coming months and years.”