Remembering the soldiers lost

On Dec. 17, 2013, a Blackhawk helicopter known by its call sign as Arrowsmith 35 was brought down by an improvised explosive device in the mountains northeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Of the seven soldiers aboard, only one survived: Pfc. Jayson Morton.

Los Angeles Times reporter Thomas Curwen and photojournalist Katie Falkenberg recorded remembrances of the six who died, offered by their fellow soldiers.

Read the full story: The loneliest war »

34 years old

Randy Billings

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings was the maintenance test pilot of Arrowsmith 35. He entered the Army in May 1997 and became a warrant officer in 2007. Previous deployments included Iraq in 2004 and 2011, Afghanistan in 2006.

Billings was from Heavener, Okla. Fellow soldiers remembered him as a farm boy who loved working in the fields so much that after his shift at Ft. Riley, Kan., he would help neighboring farmers with their harvests. He was a regular visitor to the annual Tri-Rivers fair and rodeo in Salina, Kan.

29 years old

Peter Bohler

Sgt. Peter C. Bohler was crew chief for Arrowsmith 35. He entered the Army in 2007 and was promoted to sergeant in 2012. His first deployment to Afghanistan lasted eight months in 2009.

Bohler was from Willow Spring, N.C. Fellow soldiers remembered the version of 50 Cent's “Candy Shop“ that he played on the guitar. He painted the face shield of his flight helmet white so that he looked like the character V from the graphic novel, “V for Vendetta“ in his Guy Fawkes mask.

28 years old

Omar Forde

Sgt. 1st Class Omar Forde was an electronic warfare specialist. He entered the Army in 2005, and was assigned to Ft. Riley in January 2012. He deployed to Iraq twice, in 2008 and 2010. He was assigned to road clearance, removing IEDs from convoy routes.

Forde was from Marietta, Ga. He married his high school sweetheart, Megan Forde, and while he was training at Ft. Irwin, Calif., they eloped to Las Vegas. Forde was a fan of the Atlanta Falcons and was described by fellow soldiers as “the glue that held them together.”

22 years old

Terry Gordon

Spc. Terry Gordon was the door gunner on Arrowsmith 35. He entered the service in 2011 and was assigned to Ft. Riley in 2012.

Gordon was from Shubuta, Miss. Friends remembered his sense of humor and his love for smoking a hookah pipe. When soldiers flew over the dun-colored hills of Afghanistan, targets were often hard to find. Gordon excelled at it.

35 years old

Josh Silverman

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Silverman was the pilot-in-command of Arrowsmith 35. He enlisted in the Army in 2005. The day before the crash, he had received pilot-in-command status.

Silverman was from Scottsdale, Ariz. The only Jewish soldier in his flight company, he took it upon himself to teach his friends about Hanukkah. They, in turn, decorated his cubby with a Christmas tinsel. Silverman was a culinary school graduate and was described as a gifted blues guitar player.

30 years old

Jesse Williams

Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams was an electronic warfare specialist. He enlisted in the Army in 2006, and was assigned to the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, in 2013. He deployed to Iraq in June 2007 for 14 months, and to Afghanistan in May 2010 for 12 months.

Williams was from Elkhart, Ind. A friend recalled his sense of humor and how proud he was of his daughter. After his death, his family started Jesse’s Warriors dedicated to helping soldiers, veterans and their families during deployment.

Read the full story: The loneliest war»

Additional Credits: Designer: Lily Mihalik | Digital Producer: Evan Wagstaff