Two area men were among nine American troops killed in a helicopter crash in the Zabul province in southern Afghanistan Tuesday.
Staff Sgt. Joshua D. Powell, 25, of Pleasant Plains, Ill.; and Sgt. Marvin R. Calhoun Jr., 23, of Elkhart, Ind. were members of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, which deployed in March, said Fort Campbell spokesman Rick Rzepka.
Family members told an Indiana television station that Calhoun joined the Army soon after graduating from Elkhart Central High School in 2006 and that he was on second tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was married with a 2-year-old daughter.
Former Elkhart Central football coach Mark Hummel says Calhoun loved to joke around but was one of his hardest working players.
Four sailors were also killed in the crash; making it the deadliest NATO forces have seen in Afghanistan since May of 2006.
The cause of the crash is not yet clear, although the Taliban have claimed insurgents shot down the helicopter. NATO says there were no reports of enemy fire near the crash.