Alaskan soldier killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash

Chief Warrant Officer Jacob Michael Sims, 36, died on Oct. 28 when his helicopter crashed in the Logar Province of Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew McLaughlin)

An American soldier from Juneau was killed over the weekend while serving in Afghanistan.

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Chief Warrant Officer Jacob Michael Sims, 36, died on Oct. 28 when his helicopter crashed in the Logar Province of Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense released the news on Sunday.

According to the DoD, Sims was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at an Air Force Base just south of Tacoma, Washington. He was in Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, a counterterrorism mission that began in 2015.

On Sunday, Governor Bill Walker ordered US and Alaska flags be immediately lowered to half-staff for the next five days to honor Officer Sims.

“Chief Warrant Officer Sims and his family made the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us,” Walker said. “Byron, Toni, Donna and I are holding his parents, his wife and his children in our daily prayers. While our state and our country lost a dedicated soldier, they lost their son, husband and father. Our military service members put themselves on the line in defense of the values we hold dear. We owe them a debt of gratitude.”

NATO’s Resolute Support in Afghanistan has confirmed that six additional American crew members that were aboard the helicopter were injured in the crash. 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our comrade,” said NATO General John Nicholson, commander, Resolute Support. “On behalf of all of Resolute Support, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen comrade and those injured in this unfortunate event.”

According to NATO, the incident is under investigation.

Emily Russell is the voice of Alaska morning news as Alaska Public Media’s Morning News Host and Producer.

Originally from the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Emily moved to Alaska in 2012. She skied her way through three winters in Fairbanks, earning her Master’s degree in Northern Studies from UAF.

Emily’s career in radio started in Nome in 2015, reporting for KNOM on everything from subsistence whale harvests to housing shortages in Native villages. She then worked for KCAW in Sitka, finally seeing what all the fuss with Southeast, Alaska was all about.

Back on the road system, Emily is looking forward to driving her Subaru around the region to hike, hunt, fish and pick as many berries as possible. When she’s not talking into the mic in the morning, Emily can be found reporting from the peaks above Anchorage to the rivers around Southcentral.

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