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Bodies from downed helicopter to arrive at Dover Air Force Base

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says the remains of the 30 U.S. troops killed when a helicopter was shot down over the weekend in Afghanistan will be brought to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today.

Pentagon officials also said that there will be no public media coverage at the Dover base during the military's "dignified transfer" ceremony because the badly damaged remains are mingled and still being identified. Families are allowed to attend the arrival.

News organizations are protesting the decision to prohibit media coverage.

The 18-year ban on media coverage of the returns was lifted in 2009 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, leaving the decision to the families of the war dead.

NATO says the Chinook helicopter carrying the troops was shot down by an insurgent armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

President Barack Obama, in a statement at the White House, said he spoke to his commanders and vowed to continue the fight.

The crash in eastern Afghanistan that also killed three Air Force members and an Army air crew underscores the risks as the United States begins to turn over portions of the country to Afghan forces while concentrating more on ferreting out insurgents operating along the border.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said the downing of the Chinook on Saturday should be seen as a single combat incident and not a watershed moment in an escalating war.

Bodies from downed helicopter to arrive at Dover Air Force Base 08/08/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 8, 2011 10:26pm]
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