A soldier from Melbourne died from wounds he suffered when the Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed late last week, becoming the third local man killed in Afghanistan during the past month.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Hornsby, 37, was serving his second deployment to Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense said Monday. He was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division with a home base at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Three other U.S. soldiers also died in the crash, which remains under investigation, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
"Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of our fallen heroes," said Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, commanding general, 25th Infantry Division. "Although the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade family has suffered a huge loss, they still continue their mission with the utmost courage and resolve."
Hornsby, who joined the Army in 1998 and became a helicopter pilot in 2003, was married with two children, according to the Department of Defense release.
No one answered the door at a relative's house in Melbourne on Monday night.
In the past month, the Space Coast had lost two other men to the war in Afghanistan. Army Spc. Justin Horsley, 21, was killed in a roadside bombing July 22. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Gifford, 34, was killed in combat July 29. Both were from Palm Bay.
"As in too many circumstances, I met the men and didn't get to know them well enough,” said Bill Vagianos, president of Brevard Veterans Council and Brevard Veterans Memorial Center.
“It just makes me so sad that we're losing these troops,” Vagianos said, adding that he plans to speak with Hornsby’s parents.
“As a leader in the veteran community, it’s really my responsibility to address and acknowledge the loss,” he said.
The Department of Defense said the Aug. 16 helicopter crash that killed Hornsby remains under investigation.
The three other men killed were: Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause, 29, of Cathedral City, Calif.; Sgt. Luis A. Oliver Galbreath, 41, of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Sgt. Richard A. Essex, 23, Kelseyville, Calif.
The Defense Department said Hornsby had received the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Senior Army Aviator Badge.