Friday, April 12, 2013
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner, 34, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder, 26, were killed April 9 when their AH-64 Apache Helicopter crashed in Afghanistan during a reconnaissance mission.
The pilots served with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Company B, 1-104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, based at Fort Indiantown Gap. The battalion deployed to Afghanistan in August 2012.
Yoder attended Reading Community College, and joined the military in 2005. His widow, Heather Garay-Yoder, released the following statement upon his death:
“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.”
Ruffner was a 2003 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology. He worked as an Apache instructor pilot for the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility.
As Home Post reported earlier this week, Afghan witnesses said they saw the Apache crash into an agricultural field in the Pachir Wagam district in Nangarhar province.
NATO ISAF reported that there was no known enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.