(CBS/CNN) — The US Army has identified five Americans killed in a helicopter crash Thursday while serving as part of a peacekeeping force in Egypt.
One of those killed was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, a 27-year-old from Arlington.
His friends and family say he was a dedicated soldier, and his mission in life was to help others.
“We’re all still processing it. It definitely was really tough news,” said Muhaned Ghabour, Marwan’s brother. “It was always in the back of my mind. But as far as it actually being a reality, I never thought that’d be the case.”
The other Americans, who were among seven members of the force killed in the southern Sinai Peninsula, were identified as: Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31 of Katy, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, of Fayetteville, North Carolina; Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, of Painesville, Ohio; and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, of Watseka, Illinois.
The helicopter crash occurred Thursday morning in the vicinity of Sharm el-Sheikh. It was “caused by technical issues” and involved a Black Hawk helicopter that was a supplying mission of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), the Czech Defense Ministry said.
Muhaned Ghabour said he not only lost his brother, but also his role model.
“My brother just, when it came to people, he just loved helping people. And he wanted to do something bigger than himself. And when he did something, he went all in,” Muhaned said. “I want people to know that he was such a caring person. He was that guy that I felt like everyone needed.”
Darren O’Brien, a childhood friend of Marwan, said his death came as a shock.
“Marwan was one of my really close friends,” said O’Brien. “It was almost unreal. One of my friends who’s also in the army had heard and let me know.”
Mass. Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, along with Congresswoman Lori Trahan, issued a statement on Saturday about Ghabour’s death:
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Chief Warrant Officer Marwan Sameh Ghabour’s passing. While the circumstances of the crash are under investigation, we know that on November 12th we lost Marwan and four other US soldiers who were on a peacekeeping operation with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission. His passing is a stark reminder of the risk each of our service members take in protecting our nation and promoting peace around the globe. We offer our condolences to his family, friends, and fellow service members in this time of pain. Our offices are here as a resource for them.”
Also killed in the crash were one French and one Czech national, whom Czech authorities identified as Sgt. Michaela Ticha, the first Czech female solider killed in a foreign mission since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. One American peacekeeper survived the crash and was evacuated by Israel Defense Forces to an Israeli hospital for medical treatment, the IDF said in a statement.
The MFO oversees the peace agreement reached between Egypt and Israel as part of the Camp David Accords of 1978.
The force consists of some 1,150 personnel from 13 countries, including about 450 Americans.
Security in the area has deteriorated in recent years amid a campaign of violence being carried out by a local ISIS affiliate that has targeted civilians and government forces.
In 2016, after a series of militant attacks, the US moved a large number of forces further south to where it was deemed safer and increased the use of remote technology like cameras to carry out the mission.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)