Temple: Neighbors rally around widows of fallen Fort Hood aviators

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami (left) and Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, died in the crash. (U.S. Army/Fort Hood photos)
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Hundreds lined the streets of the west Temple neighborhood where two fallen Fort Hood aviators lived as police escorted the soldiers’ widows home Friday afternoon.

Neighbors holding flags stood silently as the small convoy traveled down the street.

A day earlier, Fort Hood identified two soldiers who were killed when their Apache helicopter crashed Wednesday in Afghanistan as Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, of Texas and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami, 25, of Keaau, Hawaii, who were both assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade.

McKenzie Fuchigami traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the return of her husband’s body Thursday.

While Silkey Knadle did not make the trip, people close to the pair said Knadle met up with McKenzie Fuchigami as she returned to Central Texas and they rode home together.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump also flew to Dover Thursday to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers.

Mr. Trump has described the Dover ceremonies as some of the toughest things he has to do as commander and chief.

The City of Temple lowered flags to half-staff Friday in honor of the fallen soldiers.

“We are forever grateful for their service and sacrifice. We send our condolences to their loved ones,” the city said in a Facebook post.

Both soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in October 2019.

Knadle joined the Army in April 213 and in April 2015 was assigned to the 1-227th as an Apache pilot.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal.

Fuchigami joined the army in May 2017 and in October 2017 was assigned to the 1-227th as an Apache pilot.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal.

Their deaths raised the total number of U.S. deaths so far this year in Afghanistan to 19.

There have also been three deaths that weren’t combat related.

During the course of the 18-year war, more than 2,400 Americans have died there.