The Pentagon announced March 5 that SSgt. Christopher S. Frost, 24, of Waukesha, Wis., was killed March 3 in the crash of an Iraqi Army Mi-17 helicopter near Bayji, Iraq. Frost was a public affairs specialist deployed to Iraq from the 377th Air Base Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M. According to a Kirtland release, the helicopter crashed during a dust storm. A six-year Air Force veteran, Frost had deployed to the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq in September. Seven members of the Iraqi Air Force also onboard were killed as well. Coalition combat search and rescue teams began searching for the helicopter when it was reported overdue on March 3 and found wreckage on March 4 around noon, per a Multi-National Force-Iraq statement.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.