VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY/AP) - Family and friends are remembering those who lost their lives when a helicopter carrying 30 American service members was shot down in eastern Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense has not officially released any names of the people on board the helicopter, but some families have already come forward and are talking about the loss of their loved ones.
Aaron Vaughn was based in Virginia Beach. He leaves behind a wife and two young children.
"I want to tell the world that he was an amazing man, that he was a wonderful husband, and a fabulous father to two wonderful children. He was a warrior for our country and he wouldn't want to leave this earth any other way than how he did," said wife Kimberly Vaughn.
Petty Officer Michael Strange was 25 years old and had just purchased a new home in Virginia. He was a member of Seal Team 6. He was stationed in Virginia Beach and had just become engaged. He has family in Pennsylvania.
"He knew what he was getting into. It was something, he was trained for it," said brother Charles Strange, Jr.
This was Strange's third tour in Afghanistan. He leaves behind two younger siblings, his father, and his mother - a Philadelphia police officer.
Patrick Hamburger , the 30-year-old from Grand Island, Nebraska had been in Afghanistan less than two weeks. According to the Associated Press, his brother says he was planning to propose to his girlfriend when he returned from Afghanistan. He and his girlfriend have a 2-year-old daughter together.
"He was selfless. He didn't worry about him half as much as he worried about everybody else. You could have been a complete stranger and he could have helped you, he would have done it," said brother Chris Hamburger.
The family also made this website in memory of Hamburger.
Another SEAL killed was an Arkansas native. John Brown was an Air Force technical sergeant. He wanted to go into the medical field and become a nurse anesthetist, but decided to join the military after seeing a video of a special tactical unit. The airman was a paramedic and ready to attend to the medical needs of anyone who was rescued, his mother said.
"John Brown was a rambo without the attitude, he was a humble healer and service to his country - a Special Forces medic on a mission in Afghanistan. He was brave, but never arrogant, powerful but always gentle, a smart man who knew himself and chose his words carefully," said mother Elizabeth Newlun.
"He fought for what was right and loved to do it. He loved his job, he loved his family, he loved America," said brother Michael Mills.
Tom Ratzlaff left behind a wife, two young sons, and a daughter to be born in November.
WAVY.com spoke to Ratzlaff's sister Julie Adams who said, "We are grieving with everyone who lost loved ones in that accident. We are proud of all of the servicemen who put their lives on the line daily." Adams continued, "He would be extremely grateful for the outpouring of support, but he would have wanted the focus to stay on the cause he was fighting for."
According to the Associated Press, Robert James Reeves and Jonas Kelsall had been childhood friends in Shreveport, La. where they played soccer together and graduated from the same high school. Reeves, 32, became a SEAL in 1999 and served on SEAL Team 6, his father said.
Kelsall, 33, was one of the first members of SEAL Team 7, his father said.
The Associated Press reports that Kraig Vickers had been a Navy Bomb Disposal Team member. Vickers' father said his son would have turned 37 on Thursday before declining further comment on his death. Vickers lived in Virginia Beach, with his wife who was preganant, and their three children.
WITN reports that Jacksonville native Chris Campbell was killed in the helicopter crash. The parents said Campbell was a White Oak High School graduate. They said they are not talking to the media at this time, but are asking people to pray for them. Campbell was a Navy SEAL.
Kevin Houston, 36, of Chesapeake, was among those who were killed, WFXT reported. The Cape Cod Times reports that Houston joined the Navy in 1995. Houston graduated from high school in Massachusetts.
Spencer Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kansas, was a member of Bravo Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment based at New Century AirCenter, according to WDAF .
According to the NBC affiliate out of Connecticut, Chief Petty Officer Brian Robert Bill, 31, was a graduate of Norwich University of Vermont, Coronado Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego, and the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach. Both bases are Navy SEAL training centers. In 2003, he was designated as a SEAL and assigned to a SEAL Team based in Virginia Beach.
According to the Associated Press, Master at Arms, Class 1 John Douangdara , 26, was from South Siox
City, Nebraska. He was a Navy SEAL and a lead dog handler for the unit. "We are proud Johnny fought for the country that embraced our family and gave us the opportunity to reach for the American dream," said Chan Follen, the oldest of five children in the family, which came to the United States from Laos three decades ago.
Dougandara's mother said, "I know he loved his job, it was a job he chose."
Jason Workman also lost his life in the crash. He was a Navy SEAL.
Dave Carter was from Hays, Kansas. He was a helicopter crewman in the U.S. Army.
Darrik Benson, 29, was from Angwin, California. He was a Navy SEAL.
Others men who lost their lives include Matt Mason, Alexander Bennett, and Bryan Nichols, according to KSHB in Kansas City. Mason was a Navy SEAL and Bennett was in the army.
Nichols' son Brayden asked the media to include a picture of his father in the coverage of the fallen. In a iReport to CNN Brayden wrote, "My father was one of the 30 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan with the SEALs rescue mission. My father was the pilot of the Chinook. I have seen other victims' pictures from this deadly mission and wish you would include a picture of my father."
The Pentagon announced late Wednesday that they will release the names of those killed.
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