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President Donald Trump was to pay respects Thursday to a pair of Army officers who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

Trump has said the responsibility of receiving the remains of fallen U.S. soldiers is “the toughest thing I have to do” as president.

As the final day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry wound down, Trump left the White House for the short flight to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the remains of service members killed abroad are returned to U.S. soil.

David C. Knadle, 33, of Tarrant, Texas, and Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, of Keaau, Hawaii, died Wednesday when their helicopter crashed as they provided security for troops on the ground in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan.

Both were assigned to Fort Hood, Texas. Each held the rank of chief warrant officer two.

Wednesday’s crash brought this year’s U.S. death toll in Afghanistan to 19, excluding three noncombat deaths.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, but the U.S military has dismissed that as a false claim. The crash remains under investigation.
 

 
 
 
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