President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Thursday to receive the remains of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
David Knadle and Kirk Fuchigami Jr., who each held the rank of chief warrant officer 2, were killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Knadle, 33, was from Tarrant, Texas, Fuchigami, 25, was from Keaau, Hawaii. The two Apache helicopter pilots were providing security for troops on the ground when their helicopter crashed, according to the Defense Department.
Both men are Bronze Star recipients and both deployed to Afghanistan in October.
The Defense Department is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Trump traveled to Dover with first lady Melania Trump and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and White House aides. After meeting with the families of the fallen soldiers, Trump stood silently and saluted as the men's remains were carried by a group of service members and transferred into a waiting van.
The actor Jon Voight, who Trump awarded the National Medal of the Arts on Thursday, also attended the dignified transfer ceremony.
Voight told reporters he did not meet with family members of the fallen soldiers. He said Trump invited him to attend the ceremony.
The president previously visited Dover in January to pay tribute to four Americans killed in a suicide bomb attack in Syria. In 2017, he traveled to the air base to receive the remains of Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, a Navy SEAL who was killed during a counterterrorism operation in Yemen.
In recent months, Trump has depicted emotional scenes of grieving families at Dover as he has defended his decision to pull American troops out of northeast Syria.
They "scream, like I've never seen anything before," he recounted last month. "They'll break through military barriers. They'll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately."
On the campaign trail, the president has repeatedly said he wants to bring troops home from the Middle East.
Trump's visit to Dover comes as he has been at odds with some in the military over his decision to pardon three U.S. service members accused of war crimes. Trump issued the pardons over the objections of some military officials.
On Thursday, Trump intervened again, saying in a tweet that he will not allow one of the service members to be ejected from the Navy SEALs.
"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Edward Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president wrote. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"