Two decorated Pennsylvania national guardsmen who had been serving in Afghanistan since last year were killed in a helicopter crash this week, officials announced Wednesday.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner, 34, of Harrisburg, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder, 26, of Mohnton, near Reading, were piloting an Apache Helicopter during what was described as a reconnaissance mission Tuesday in the eastern Nangarhar Province when the aircraft crashed, according to Staff Sgt. Matt Jones of the state National Guard. The incident remains under investigation.
The men were serving with the state Army National Guard’s Company B, 1-104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, which is based at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County. The battalion headed to Afghanistan in August for a yearlong deployment.
“Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the Ruffner and Yoder families,” Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, adjutant general of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “We will support them in their hour of great need. We celebrate the lives of these two Army aviators. They died helping others to be free.”