President Obama, Military Leaders Pay Respects at Dover Air Force Base

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–Aug. 9, 2011 – President Barack Obama and military leaders paid their respects today at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware during the dignified transfer of remains of service members killed in an Aug. 6 helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

Two Air Force C-17 transport aircraft carrying the remains arrived at Dover this morning.

An investigation is under way to determine the facts surrounding the deaths of 30 U.S. service members and eight Afghans when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter went down in Afghanistan’s Wardak province. Five of the U.S. casualties were aircrew members, and 25 were members of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta was in attendance at Dover today, along with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deborah; and Michael G. Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

Representing the services were Navy Secretary Ray E. Mabus, Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West; Army Secretary John M. McHugh and Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff; and Air Force Undersecretary Erin C. Conaton, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Air Force vice chief of staff, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy.

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service