CAMARILLO (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Department of Defense on Saturday identified six American airmen — one of them from Camarillo — who were killed when a U.S. Air Force military transport plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan early on Friday.
The airmen died when the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft they were traveling in crashed at Jalalabad Airfield. Five civilian passengers were also killed, along with an unknown number of people on the ground.
One of the airmen was identified as Capt. Jonathan Golden, 33, of Camarillo.
He was a 1999 graduate of Camarillo High School and the youngest of three brothers, the Ventura County Star reported.
“My little brother was truly a hero to all,” Jeff Golden, Jonathan’s brother said.
“All he wanted to do was help people”, he added.
Golden was piloting the plane, which crashed shortly after takeoff, the newspaper reported. He was based at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas.
The other airmen were identified as Capt. Jordan Pierson, 28, of Abilene, Texas; Staff Sgt. Ryan Hammond, 26, of Moundsville, West Virginia; Senior Airman Quinn Johnson-Harris, 21, of Milwaukee; Senior Airman Nathan Sartain, 29, of Pensacola, Florida; and Airman 1st Class Kcey Ruiz, 21, of McDonough, Georgia.
Just last week, Golden texted his older brother Jeff, because he was worried about how he was doing on the first anniversary of his wife’s death.
“I wrote back don’t worry about me, do what you have to do in the desert… his exact reply was, I have nothing else to worry about right now.” Jeff Golden said.
According to his family, Jonathan Golden was very protective of his wife and two children.
“He was probably one of the most humble people you have ever met in your life,” Jeff Golden added.
The airmen were serving in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel — the U.S. military mission focused on counter-terrorism efforts to prevent the resurgence of al-Qaeda. The operation also seeks to train, advise, and assist in developing the capabilities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
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