Hays native honored with Army Reserve installation commemoration

Press release

FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin – A native of Hays was honored when an Army Reserve Installation was commemorated as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan J. Nichols Army Reserve Center and Aviation Support Facility August 6 in New Century , Kan.

On the night of August 5, 2011, Nichols as a pilot and four other crew members of Extortion 17 were tasked with transporting a platoon of US Army Rangers to the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province in Afghanistan for neutralize a known Taliban leader. US forces quickly engaged with enemy ground forces shortly after insertion.

During the operation, a small group of insurgents was observed leaving the area. A rapid reaction force from the SEAL team was dispatched to intercept the insurgents and determine if the Taliban leader was part of the group. Despite the high threat level and the presence of enemy forces, Nichols and his crew advanced to transport the QRF to the Tangi Valley. As Extortion 17 approached the landing zone, a series of rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the aircraft. One of the RPGs struck the tail rotor system, causing the Chinook helicopter to spin and crash into a dry riverbed. The plane exploded on impact, killing all 33 passengers and five crew members, making it the deadliest day to date for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

During his 14 years of distinguished service, Nichols received numerous awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Badge, and Aviator Badge. of the base army.

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