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Michigan airman killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash | News

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Michigan airman killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) -- An airman from the Kalamazoo area died during a helicopter crash in Afghanistan Sunday.

Coalition forces there say a British helicopter crashed at Camp Resolute Support in Kabul, killing five on board, including two Americans. According to the Department of Defense and family on social media, one of the Americans was U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Kuhse, 38. He was assigned to the 3rd Manpower Requirements Squadron at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

The mission was NATO-led and described as "non-hostile," according to our partner USA Today. It reports the helicopter was a British Puma Mk 2. An eyewitness told the Associated Press that the vehicle appeared to strike a monitoring balloon as it was landing.

Kuhse was a 1995 graduate of Comstock High School, which is located near Kalamazoo. Friends and family in the Kalamazoo-area are mourning his loss.

His senior photo is inside the 1995 yearbook, as are photos of him on the varsity baseball team.  

The current superintendent of Comstock Public Schools did not personally know Kuhse, but in an interview with WZZM 13, Superintendent Todd Mora shared what Kuhse's former baseball coach said about Kuhse.

"Greg was a leader on the team as well as in the school," says Mora. "He had a focus and a drive to be part of the U.S. military, and he was able to achieve that goal through a lot of hard work."

"Airman Kuhse was obviously a person who was selfless in the fact that he was willing to put his life at risk to protect everybody else’s," said Mora.  "He is by definition a hero, and for that we are greatly appreciative of the fact that people in this community knew him and they will miss him greatly."

However, Mora says right now the main focus is on Kuhse's family, "wanting to be as supportive as possible in their time of loss."

The superintendent says before they schedule a special event to honor Kuhse at the school district, they want to make sure that's what the family wants.   

The other American killed was Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky, 45, of Rio Rancho, N.M. She was assigned to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

The cause of the helicopter crash remains under investigation.