Friends remembered the Colorado co-pilot of a Chinook Army helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan, killing 30 American troops.
Friends identified the victim as David R. Carter, of Aurora. He was was a pilot for the Colorado Army National Guard based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.
A Facebook remembrance page was set up following his death.
"Dave Carter was many things to many people. He was an outstanding husband and father," said neighbor and friend Yolanda Levesque. "Quick with a smile and always with a twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes."
"Dave Carter was, if not our finest rotary-wing aviator in Colorado, one of our top-trained, experienced Army helicopter pilots in the Colorado Army National Guard," said Brigadier General Robert K. Balster, who was Carter's command supervisor in the Colorado Army National Guard
"When you work with people for a long time, you can pick and choose those who you can absolutely count on, and Dave Carter was one of those individuals," said Major General H. Michael Edwards, commander, 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard, Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, CO.
"It is a huge hole torn in our formation across the board," said Balster.
"While our shock, loss and grief are monumental, so too has been the support that the Carter family has received," said Levesque.
The crash killed 30 American troops, seven Afghan soldiers and an Afghan interpreter.
Twenty-two Navy SEALs were aboard and were among those killed, according to U.S. military officials. All but two of the SEALs were from SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last May, officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. None of the SEALs killed in the crash took part in the bin Laden mission.
In a statement released on Monday, NATO said an insurgent with a rocket-propelled grenade reportedly fired on the chopper, which was transporting the U.S. and Afghan troops to the scene of an ongoing fight between coalition forces and insurgents.
Eight Taliban fighters were also killed in the battle, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.
NATO says the operation began as a search for a Taliban leader responsible for insurgent operations in the Tangi Valley of Wardak province. The coalition says the ground forces saw several insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47s and called for assistance.
The helicopter crashed as it was arriving to assist.
It was deadliest single incident for U.S. forces in the decade-long war.
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