U.S. service member killed in helicopter crash was former Las Vegan

Local News

Kirk Fuchigami died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. (Photo credit: U.S. Army)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A 25-year-old U.S. service member killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan was a 2012 Rancho High School graduate.

Former Las Vegan Kirk Fuchigami was killed on Wednesday. Fuchigami and David Knadle, 33, were killed while they were providing security for troops on the ground in eastern Logar Province. Both were assigned to a unit from Fort Hood, Texas.

Rancho High School Principal James Kuzma sent the following statement to the Rancho staff Friday morning:

“Saldy, I received the news this morning that Kirk Fuchigami, a Rancho grad from 2012, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. He had been piloting a troop support mission in an Apache when it crashed. Kirk was a member of Rancho’s RJOTC and in the Aviation magnet program.”

James Kuzma, Rancho High School

Fuchigami was listed as being from Keaau, Hawaii. According to Stars and Stripes, he was married eight months ago.

A Facebook memorial fund was created to help family members traveling long distances attend his funeral. The rest of the funds raised will go to his wife, McKenzie. To donate, please click here.

The helicopter crash is under investigation. The Taliban claimed to have shot down the helicopter, but the U.S military dismissed that claim as false.

The crash brought the number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan this year to 19. There also have been three non-combat deaths this year. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year war.

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