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Friday, October 30, 2009
Marines killed in Afghan helicopter crash had Kona connection
By News Release @ 7:33 PM :: 12164 Views :: Hawaii County , Energy, National News, World News

Message from Kona Gathering of Eagles

Friends:  Sadly we must report to you that four brave aviation Marines, whose Squadron we have been supporting with donations of Kona coffee since last June have been killed in action in Afghanistan.

LINK: MILITARY: 4 Camp Pendleton Marines die in Afghanistan helicopter collision

Four Camp Pendleton Marines were killed in Afghanistan Monday (Oct 26) when two helicopters collided over Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, authorities said.

Seven other Americans and three members of the Drug Enforcement Agency combating that country's opium trade died in a separate crash Monday in western Afghanistan, military officials said.

The combined 14 deaths made Monday the deadliest single day for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan since 2005.

The Camp Pendleton fatalities were identified by military officials as Capt. Kyle Van De Giesen of North Attleboro, Mass.; Capt. Eric A. Jones, 29, of Westchester, N.Y.; Capt. David S. Mitchell, 30, of Loveland, Ohio; and Cpl. Gregory Fleury, 23, of Anchorage, Alaska.

These Marine pilots were involved in the aerial collision of two helicopters you may have heard about between a UH-1 Huey and an AH-1 Super Cobra.

They were members of HMLA-169 - Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, the Vipers.

Here is a photo of their helicopters in flight sent by the Vipers over the summer, posted on the Hawaii Gathering of Eagles Blog:


The Kona Coffee for Our Troops projects, as Operation Jarhead Java, has sent HMLA-169 about 120 lbs of coffee and it has been greatly appreciated .

The farms and farmers whom specifically donated this coffee to the Vipers, repeatedly, are:

  • Captain Cook Coffee Company

  • Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Company

  • Makahiki Farms

  • Kona Rain Forest Coffee Company

  • Pagoda Farm

  • and Paradise Farm

All of you--thank you made a difference.

God rest these pilots and may their families somehow be comforted and find peace and happiness again one day .




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