U.S. Army

Mass. Soldier Is 1 of 5 Americans Dead in Helicopter Crash in Egypt

Chief Warrant Officer Marwan Sameh Ghabour died while on a multinational peacekeeping operation in Sinai, Army officials said

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An Army officer from Massachusetts is one of five American soldiers who died this week in a helicopter crash on an island off the coast of Egypt, military officials said Saturday.

Chief Warrant Officer Marwan Sameh Ghabour was 27.

Ghabour grew up in Arlington, but lived Marlborough, where on Saturday flags outside City Hall flew at half mast and intersection traffic signs offered condolences to his family.

“I never though it would happen. I never thought it would happen," said Muhaned Ghabour, Marwan's younger brother.

The 28-year-old Marwan Sameh Ghabour was killed in a crash on Thursday, but few details are known about the incident.

Representatives from the Army had arrived at Muhaned's door on Thursday to deliver the tragic news.

“All of us are definitely still processing what’s going on, and it was definitely tough news," Muhaned said. "Still just processing, still processing. But we’re all, you know, very proud of who he was and what he was doing.”

The Islamic Center of Boston, Wayland, a mosque at which the Ghabour family remain active members and where Marwarn went to Sunday School as a child, confirmed Ghabour's passing in a message to their community Saturday afternooon.

"We will never forget the sacrifice of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Ghabour and other service members who died in the service of their country," wrote Amer Syed, the president of the mosque.

Ghabour died along with four other Americans and two European soldiers in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash Thursday on Tirian Island off the coast of Sinai, the Egyptian peninsula dividing the country's mainland with Israel, Army officials said. Another American was seriously wounded.

Few details about the incident, which remains under investigation, have been released as of Saturday evening, beyond that it was part of a multinational peacekeeping operation.

But Ghabour was planning to return to the United States next month.

One of his coaches from Arlington High School, where Ghabour played soccer, remembers Ghabour as someone who earned the respect of everyone around him.

"He was a very hard-working and committed teammate," Lance Yodzio said.

Yodzio recalled fondly about when the 2011 graduate returned to his alma mater team in 2015 to serve as a volunteer assistant, exemplifying his passion for giving back.

“He loved helping people," his brother said. "He was part of something that was bigger than himself, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without him. He taught me so much. He was such a caring person."

Several top Massachusetts lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Edward Markey, released a joint statement Saturday afternoon expressing their condolences and support to Ghabour's family and friends.

"His passing is a stark reminder of the risk each of our servicemembers take in protecting our nation and promoting peace around the globe," they wrote. "We offer our condolences to his family, friends, and fellow servicemembers in this time of pain. Our offices are here as a resource for them."

The soldiers were part of a Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), a multinational peacekeeping mission established in 1981, according to a statement from the U.S. Army on Saturday. Members of the mission supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.

"It is with profound sadness that we mourn this tragic loss of life," said Col. David S. Sentell, commander of Task Force Sinai, in the statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of our fallen during this most difficult time. They should know that their nation will continue to honor their sacrifice."

The other American soldiers who died were identified as Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, North Carolina; Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio, and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Illinois.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement Friday mourning the soldiers' deaths.

"Our great men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day for our nation and for the sake of securing peace throughout the world," he said, adding, "We pray for all of their families and for the quick recovery of the one injured American soldier who survived."

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