A 25-year-old from New Jersey was one of six Marines killed in the crash of a U.S helicopter in Afghanistan Thursday, the Department of Defense said Saturday.
Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard of Colonia and five other Marines were killed when the CH-53D helicopter carrying them crashed Thursday in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand.
According to his Facebook page, Reinhard graduated from St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen in 2005. He was stationed in Hawaii before his deployment to Afghanistan.
Thursday's crash was the deadliest in Afghanistan since August, when 30 American troops died after a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in Wardak province in the center of the country.
The cause of the latest crash is still being investigated, but a statement issued by the NATO international military coalition said there was no enemy activity in the area when it happened.
German Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a spokesman for the NATO coalition in Kabul, said officials were looking at a "technical fault" as the possible culprit.
"The helicopter is one of the safest forms of transport," Jacobson said. He said not only does it protect troops the danger of roadside bombs on the ground, but it is a well-tested, well-proven way to travel.
In 2005, the same base lost 27 Marines when a CH-53E Super Stallion deployed to Iraq crashed during a desert sandstorm. Thirty Marines and a Navy medic were killed in that crash.
CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters were first used in the 1960s, and the Marine Corps flew them in the Vietnam War.
All Sea Stallions still used operationally are stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. The military plans to replace them with the MV-22 Osprey.