‘Keep his loved ones in our prayers’: Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee from Painesville dies in Army helicopter crash

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army on Saturday identified the five American soldiers killed in a helicopter crash this week while on a peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

The Army identified the dead as Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, North Carolina; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Massachusetts; Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio; and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Illinois.

McKee was a father and a husband. He was remembered today in a tweet from state Rep. Dave Joyce.

The soldiers were part of an international force that monitors the four-decade-old Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. The Multinational Force and Observers said the soldiers were on a routine mission when the Black Hawk helicopter crashed Thursday near Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular Egyptian resort on the Red Sea.

A French peacekeeper and Czech officer also were killed, and a sixth American on the helicopter was injured.

The Army said the cause of the crash is still under investigation. On the day of the crash, the MFO said at that point there were no signs of an attack and it appeared to have been an accident.

Thirteen countries contribute troops to the peacekeeping force, with the United States making up the largest contingent. The responsibilities include monitoring troop levels along the border and ensuring the freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran.

Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller issued the following statement:

“The Defense Department is deeply saddened by the loss of five U.S. and two partner nation service members in a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula operating with the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).

Yesterday we recognized the sacrifice of millions of American veterans who have defended our nation for generations, and today we are tragically reminded of the last full measure our uniformed warriors may pay for their service.

I extend the Department’s condolences to the families, friends and teammates of these service members.”

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