Local News

Soldier killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash has local ties

Posted December 18, 2013
Updated December 19, 2013

— One of six U.S. service members killed when a helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan Tuesday was originally from Johnston County.

U.S. defense officials have not released the identities of those who died when the Black Hawk UH-60 went down in the remote district of Shajau, but a source tells WRAL News that Sgt. Chris Bohler, an Army helicopter crew chief from Willow Spring, was among the victims.

The crash is under investigation, but according to initial reports to The Associated Press, the troops had mechanical problems and came under fire after the crash. It was unclear whether any of the casualties were the result of enemy fire.

Family members of Bohler, 29, did not want to comment about their loss Wednesday, but his mother, Deborah Bohler, posted to Facebook that her heart "shattered into a million pieces. Dear God gives us strength through this pain."

Bohler's mother works in Raleigh at the Wake County District Attorney's Office, where staff and officials were shocked and devastated by the loss.

"It's affected people in this office and throughout this courthouse," District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Wednesday afternoon. "We watch each other's children grow up … we help each other bury each other's parents, and we feel the pains of what has happened. It's a close-knit group."

According to Bohler's Facebook page, he graduated in 2003 from South Johnston High School in Four Oaks and attended Johnston Community College.

In 2007, he joined the Army and was based in Fort Riley, Kansas.

Stephen Sanders worked with Bohler at Lowe's Home Improvement store in Clayton several years ago and said he remembered him as a good man who was always smiling.

"When that young man wanted something, he went for it," Sanders said. "I'm very proud of that young man. I can take off my hat (to him), and I hope his mom and dad feel the same way."

This year, 109 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan, out of a total of 139 members of the coalition.

The death toll has dropped significantly since the coalition handed over responsibility for security to Afghan forces last summer and coalition troops are now training and assisting.

By comparison, 394 foreign troops died last year, including 297 Americans.

24 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • WASP Dec 19, 2:35 p.m.

    Another soldier paying the ultimate price for our freedom. He now guards the gates of heaven. R.I.P. Brave Soldier

  • 4n0n Dec 19, 2:14 p.m.

    There was another soldier who was in this wreck that has ties back to NC. He is related to my good friend. Let's not forget this gentleman WRAL.

  • puzzled Dec 19, 11:45 a.m.

    My heart breaks as the tears roll down my face at this moment. I can imagine the pain in this mother's heart. My son has been home for three months and everytime I look at him I am thankful that he is home. My condolences to this family and my appreciation to this young man. Where does it all end. We will never make those people live by morals and values, we're even trying to discard them in America. Lord, help us!

  • remer54 Dec 19, 8:35 a.m.

    Thank you sir for you service toour country. I pray for your parents in their time of grief and sorrow.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Dec 18, 7:55 p.m.

    Lovemyboys2 - "The "source" who distributed this information mere hours after the family learned of their loss should be ashamed of herself and should have asked the Bohler family if they wanted to entertain media at the very home where they are trying to mourn the loss of their son. The Bohler family are amazing people and should not have to deal with the media until THEY choose to do so. Shame on you..."

    I don't believe this is the correct venue to air grievances like that.

    We're sharing prayers, respect and condolences here, something we couldn't do if this wasn't published.

  • ncveteranswife Dec 18, 7:19 p.m.

    "and now he guards the gates of heaven..." RIP soldier. Thank you for serving our Country. My sympathies to his family and friends.

  • Just the facts mam Dec 18, 7:13 p.m.

    Very sad. Prayers for all families and friends...

  • Lovemyboys2 Dec 18, 7:06 p.m.

    The "source" who distributed this information mere hours after the family learned of their loss should be ashamed of herself and should have asked the Bohler family if they wanted to entertain media at the very home where they are trying to mourn the loss of their son. The Bohler family are amazing people and should not have to deal with the media until THEY choose to do so. Shame on you...

  • cactus95 Dec 18, 5:09 p.m.

    Freedom is not free! Regards to the family and nothing but pride and respect for Chris Bohler.......served my country and was one of the luckier ones.

  • One Term Governor Dec 18, 5:07 p.m.

    Gone but NEVER forgotten. You will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

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