By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — A DEA internal memo has identified the names of three agents who were killed in Afghanistan Monday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of seven U.S. Service members.
The helicopter had just taken off from a drug raid and battle with the Taliban. But there was no sign of an enemy attack in that incident or another crash that day involving two helicopters that crashed and claimed the lives of four U.S. troops, according to media reports. The cause of the crashes are under investigation.
The names and bios of the three dead agents are as follows, according to the a Drug Enforcement Administration memo:
“Special Agent Forrest N. Leamon. SA Leamon became a Special Agent in 2002. He served at the Washington Field Division and in the El Paso Field Division until 2007, when he joined the FAST team (Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams) in Afghanistan. He lived in Woodbridge, Va and was 37 years old. He is survived by his wife and their unborn child.”
“Special Agent Chad L. Michael. SA Michael graduated from basic training in March 2004. He began his career with DEA in the Miami Field Division, and left there to join the FAST team in Afghanistan in August of this year. He lived in Quantico, Va. and was 30 years old.”
“Special Agent Michael E. Weston. SA Weston has been a Special Agent with DEA since 2003. He was assigned to the Richmond, Virginia District Office until joining the Kabul Country Office in August of this year. He lived in Washington, D.C. and was 37 years old. He is survived by his wife.”
The DEA’s front office also issued a statement in the internal memo:
“During the early morning hours of Monday, October 26, 2009, our agents were acting in support of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan’s Badghis Province.
“Upon their return from this joint counternarcotics operation, our Special Agents, along with approximately 100 soldiers, were being extracted by military helicopter.”
“One of those helicopters crashed at about 5:00 am, claiming the lives of three DEA Special Agents and seven U.S. military personnel.” A DEA agent also suffered non-life threatening injuries.