FEDERAL WAY – One of two soldiers killed when two U.S. helicopters collided in Iraq on Thursday was a Federal Way native who had served in the Persian Gulf War.
Warrant Officer Patrick Leach, 39, was one of the victims, said his parents, Bruce and Grace Leach of Tacoma. Leach’s parents learned of his death Thursday night when they returned from a visit with his wife and children in Rock Hill, S.C.
Leach, a commercial airline pilot and member of the South Carolina National Guard, died Thursday when an AH-64 Apache struck his UH-60 Black Hawk on the ground in the city of Mosul.
Officials in South Carolina identified the other soldier who died as Lt. Andrew Shields, also a Guardsman from that state.
The four men wounded in the collision have returned to duty, said Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, a spokesman for Task Force Olympia, which includes the Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade.
Leach served in the active duty Army from 1986 to 1992 and was deployed to Iraq in 1991 as part of the Persian Gulf War.