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Katy, Texas soldier among 5 Americans killed in Egypt helicopter crash

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Posted at 11:30 AM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 12:30:54-05

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.

Captain Seth V. Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas was among the identified soldiers.

Capt. Vandekamp was an Army doctor assigned to Medical Company, Task Force Sinai. A 2017 graduate of A.T. Still University Medical School, Vandekamp joined the Army in 2017. This was his first overseas assignment, arriving to Egypt in October 2020.

Vandekamp's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

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.

"It is with profound sadness that we mourn this tragic loss of life," said Col. David S. Sentell, commander of Task Force Sinai. "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."

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.

The Army also identified 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.

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.