BEALE AIR FORCE BASE (CBS13) – Two airmen stationed at Beale Air Force Base were among four killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan Saturday.
Cpt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii, and SSgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and died when their MC-12 Liberty plane — also from Beale — crashed near Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.READ MORE: Good Samaritan Helps Mother, Daughter After Moving Truck Crash Near Cal Expo
“All of us are saddened at the loss of Capt. Nishizuka and Staff Sgt. Dickson,” said Col. Phil Stewart, installation commander at Beale.
There was no enemy activity in the area at the time, NATO reported.
“The air force is a tight-knit family, and it hurts to lose a wingman in combat. I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends impacted by this tragedy; our thoughts and prayers are with them,” said Stewart.
Stewart added, Dickson and Nishizuka were two of Beale’s finest airmen.
“Both had deployed numerous times in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Both had hundreds of missions they’d flown under combat conditions. They were very experienced and they loved doing what they do,” said Stewart.READ MORE: Protesters Rally In Sacramento In Support Of Indian Farmers' Rights
It’s still not clear what the exact mission was that the men were on, and investigators still don’t know why the plane crashed.
“The plane did have a black box and a cockpit voice recorder. It’s unknown if they’ve been recovered at this time,” said Stewart.
Many questions remain about what happened as the families of the killed are grieving; and grieving with them is an entire tight-knit military community near the base.
“Not much we can do except continue to pray for those families who have lost their members,” one man said.
The electronic spy plane helps troops find their way on the ground and tracks enemy movement.MORE NEWS: Bakersfield Man Missing After Car Gets Stuck In Tuolumne County
The last time a Beale airman died in combat was in a 2005 U2 spy plane crash.