CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Soldiers of 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, also known as Task Force Attack, honored two of their fallen brothers-in-arms during a memorial ceremony at the battalion’s forward deployed headquarters in Erbil, Iraq, Friday.
In heartfelt speeches, fellow pilots gave attendees all-too-brief glimpses of the types of men the pilots were: family men, good friends and dedicated professionals.
“First Attack is saddened by the tragic loss of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk Fuchigami Jr.,” Lt. Col. Adam Camarano, commander, 1-227th ARB, said. “Our heartfelt condolences go to both families and their friends during this difficult time. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Fuchigami will always be remembered as a part of the heroic legacy of the 1st Cavalry Division; forged by the sacrifices of brave cavalry troopers who have laid down their lives in defense of freedom.”
The majority of Task Force Attack Soldiers currently support the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, with some elements of the battalion supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan. Knadle and Fuchigami were among those Soldiers supporting OFS when the helicopter they were piloting crashed in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
“Let us always honor their sacrifice and keep them present in our hearts as an inspiration of true courage and reminder that what we do serves a higher cause,” said Camarano.
During the ceremony, Soldiers from 1-227th ARB; 244th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers from Task Force Warhawk, 1-227th ARB’s higher headquarters while deployed; and coalition partners paid tribute to the fallen heroes.
Col. Allan Cutchin, commander of the 244th CAB and Task Force Warhawk, shared his thoughts on the commitment and selflessness that goes into being an Army Aviator.
“We are in a very dangerous business, and despite our best efforts to mitigate risks, sadly these unfortunate events sometimes occur. This was a very somber ceremony, but showed the respect, care and love, these Soldiers have for each other. It is clear that these Soldiers will not let the sacrifices of their two fallen brothers to ever be forgotten” Cutchin said.
Knadle, 33, from Fort Worth, is survived by his wife and two children. Fuchigami, 25, from Kea’au, Hawaii, is survived by his wife McKenzie.
Knadle entered active duty in April 2013 and was assigned to the 1-227th ARB in April 2015, where he served as an Apache helicopter pilot. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge and Army Aviator Badge.
Fuchigami entered active duty in May 2017, and following his initial training, was assigned to 1-227th ARB in October 2018 where he served as an Apache Helicopter pilot. Fuchigami’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge and Army Aviator Badge.