April 10, 2013
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in the Nangarhar Province,
Tuesday, April 9
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner, 34, of
, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder, 27, of
, were piloting an AH-64 Apache Helicopter during a reconnaissance mission when their aircraft crashed. The incident is under investigation.
The soldiers were serving with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's Company B, 1-104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, based at
Fort Indiantown Gap
. The battalion mobilized for deployment to
"Susan and I offer our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of
, who died serving their country," said Governor
. "We pray for the safe return of the thousands of Pennsylvania National Guard members currently deployed, and we are grateful to each one of them and their families for the sacrifices they are making on our nation's behalf."
Ruffner was a 1997 graduate of London High School in
. He graduated in 2003 from
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
with a bachelor's in criminology. He was most recently employed as a full-time Apache instructor pilot for the Pennsylvania National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility at
Fort Indiantown Gap
He joined the military in 1997, serving initially as a mechanic in the Army Reserve's 705th Transportation Company in
, before transferring to the Army National Guard's 110th Infantry in
, Pa. Ruffner completed warrant officer training and transferred to the aviation career field in 2005 serving as an aviation life support equipment officer, tactical operations officer and instructor pilot. His awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, three Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals and the Parachutist Badge.
Yoder was a 2005 graduate of Oley Valley High School in
, and attended
He joined the military in 2005. He first served in Company C, 1st Battalion 111th Infantry as an infantryman. He was deployed in 2008 to
with Company C and the rest of the 56th Stryker Brigade. He entered the aviation career field in 2010 and served as an aviation life support equipment officer and Apache pilot. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and Driver and Mechanic Badge.
"The Pennsylvania Army National Guard has lost two of its own," said Maj. Gen.
, adjutant general of
. "Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the Ruffner and Yoder families. We will support them in their hour of great need. We celebrate the lives of these two Army aviators. They died helping others to be free."
has released the following statement: "Jarett is my American Hero. He always dreamed of being an Apache pilot and he followed those dreams to continue to fight for our country. Jarett died doing what he loved and dreamed of doing, a true hero. There are so many people who love him and we will never forget. I love you, always and forever. Your loving wife, Heather."
Photos are available at
, 717-861-8352 (office), 717-943-4328 (cell)
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs