Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Jonah David McClellan, 26, of Battle Ground (Vancouver), Wash., was among the nine killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan. He was a Chief Warrant Officer 2 and UH-60 Black Hawk pilot. Little information has been released to the public by the Pentagon, including the names of the casualties. But I just spoke with Reuben and Helen Hendrickson, Jonah's grandparents, and with Rod McClellan, Jonah's father, to confirm that he was among those who died Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the Zabul province of southern Afghanistan.
Media reports are still sketchy, and today the family was awaiting the arrival of two casualty officers to provide them with any information possible. The helicopter crash has been called the deadliest in four years for coalition forces.
Jonah was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, one of two pilots on board the helicopter when it went down; it is not known at this time if he was flying the helicopter that crashed. The Taliban is taking credit for downing the helicopter, although there are reports that there was no enemy fire in the area.
Our deepest condolences go out to Jonah's wife (Nina) and three children (Ayden, Renn and Ayla) to his parents (Rod and Leona) and grandparents.
Below is a link to the story that The Columbian did this morning.
UPDATE: Late Wednesday night the names of five soldiers were released; see the second link for that information. CNN is reporting that 5 of the victims were in the Army, and 4 were Navy, including 3 Navy SEALS; earlier reports alluded to the possibility that some on the helicopter were NATO troops not from the U.S.