2 Pennsylvania National Guard pilots killed in Afghanistan

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder

April 12, 2013 5:47:05 AM PDT
Two Pennsylvania National Guard pilots were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner, 34, of Harrisburg, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder, 26, of Mohnton, Berks County died when their helicopter crash during a reconnaissance mission in the Nangarhar Province.

The crash remains under investigation, the Pa. National Guard said.

Ruffner and Yoder 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 Afghanistan in August 2012.

According to a news release from the Pa. National Guard, Ruffner was a 1997 graduate of London High School in London, Ohio. 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.

Yoder was a 2005 graduate of Oley Valley High School in Oley, Pa., attended Reading Community College, and joined the military in 2005.

In a statement, Yoder's wife, Heather Garay-Yoder, said "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."