Love of job united men killed in crash

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“He didn’t have to go, and he wanted to go because his group was getting deployed. He wanted to be there for them. That’s him for you,” Chris Hamburger said, adding that Sgt. Hamburger always looked out for his two younger brothers and friends.

He also was the kind of guy who helped his girlfriend raise her 13-year-old daughter from another relationship, as well as the couple’s own 2-year-old daughter, and planned to propose marriage when he got home, Chris Hamburger said.

Sgt. Hamburger had been in Afghanistan less than two weeks and had arrived at Forward Operating Base Shank a few days before climbing aboard the helicopter to rush to the aid of an Army Ranger unit under fire from insurgents.

“It doesn’t come as a total surprise that he was trying to help people and that’s how it all ended up happening,” Chris Hamburger said.

Michael Strange

If someone was sad, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Strange tried to make him smile. He loved snowboarding, surfing, scuba diving, running and shooting guns on the range.

“He loved his friends, his family, his country; he loved making people laugh. He was one of a kind,” Petty Officer Strange’s brother, Charles Strange III, said outside the family’s Philadelphia home, where American flags were planted throughout the neighborhood.

Petty Officer Strange, 25, decided to join the military when he was still in high school and had been in the Navy for about six years, first stationed in Hawaii and for the past two years in Virginia Beach, where he became a SEAL about two years ago, his mother, Elizabeth Strange, told The Associated Press.

But he always told his family not to worry.

“He wasn’t supposed to die this young. He was supposed to be safe,” Elizabeth Strange said. “And he told me that, and I believed him. I shouldn’t have believed him because I know better. He would say, ‘Mom, don’t be ridiculous and worry so much. I’m safe.’ “

Robert James Reeves, Jonas Kelsall

Chief Petty Officer Robert James Reeves and Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall had been childhood friends in Shreveport, La., where they played soccer together and graduated from Caddo Magnet High School, Kelsall’s father, John, told the Times of Shreveport and KLSA-TV.

Both joined the military after graduation, though the 32-year-old Chief Petty Officer Reeves spent a year at Louisiana State University first, his father, Jim Reeves, told the newspaper.

He became a SEAL in 1999 and served on SEAL Team 6, his father said. During his many deployments, he earned four Bronze Stars and other honors.

Cmdr. Kelsall, 33, was one of the first members of SEAL Team 7, his father said.

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