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Jon Voight joins Donald and Melania Trump on trip to honor soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight last night joined President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania on a trip to Delaware to honor two soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

Trump awarded Voight, who is a fervent Republican, the prestigious National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony earlier Thursday. Voight said Trump invited him to come along to Dover Air Force Base if he wanted to.  

The actor explained he did not meet the families but watched from a distance as the soldiers’ remains were transferred. Voight said, ‘I just wanted to pay my respects, say a little prayer.’   

Trump and his wife offered condolences to the families of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25. 

Knadle, of Tarrant, Texas, and Fuchigami Jr., of Keaau, Hawaii, died Wednesday when their helicopter crashed as they provided security for troops on the ground in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan. Both were assigned to Fort Hood, Texas. 

Trump and members of the military saluted and civilians placed a hand over their hearts as a carry team of six white-gloved members of the Army’s Old Guard executed the delicate task of transferring the remains from a vehicle the military referred to as a ramp to a waiting vehicle, one case at a time. 

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump salute as military personnel carry a transfer case for fallen service member, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami, 25, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base on Thursday

Trump awarded Voight, who is a fervent Republican, the prestigious National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony earlier Thursday. Voight said in Delaware that Trump invited him to come along if he wanted to (pictured: Voight descends the stairs of Air Force One with the President and First Lady)

Trump awarded Voight, who is a fervent Republican, the prestigious National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony earlier Thursday. Voight said in Delaware that Trump invited him to come along if he wanted to (pictured: Voight descends the stairs of Air Force One with the President and First Lady)

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, followed by actor Jon Voight who received the the National Medal of Arts earlier yesterday, step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, followed by actor Jon Voight who received the the National Medal of Arts earlier yesterday, step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland

Trump and members of the military saluted and civilians placed a hand over their hearts as a carry team of six white-gloved members of the Army's Old Guard executed the delicate task of transferring the remains from a vehicle the military referred to as a ramp to a waiting vehicle, one case at a time

Trump and members of the military saluted and civilians placed a hand over their hearts as a carry team of six white-gloved members of the Army’s Old Guard executed the delicate task of transferring the remains from a vehicle the military referred to as a ramp to a waiting vehicle, one case at a time 

Actor Jon Voight (L) arrives aboard Air Force One with U.S. President Donald Trump, prior to the arrival of the remains of two U.S. Army soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan

Actor Jon Voight (L) arrives aboard Air Force One with U.S. President Donald Trump, prior to the arrival of the remains of two U.S. Army soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan

The president led a group of dignitaries that included Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. 

Trump has said witnessing the dignified transfer of service members’ remains is ‘the toughest thing I have to do’ as president. 

As the final day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry wound down, Trump left the White House for the short flight to Dover Air Force Base, where the remains of service members killed abroad are returned to U.S. soil.  

The deaths of the soldiers on Wednesday brought this year’s U.S. death toll in Afghanistan to 19, excluding three noncombat deaths.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, but the U.S. military has dismissed that as a false claim. The crash remains under investigation.

Trump broke off peace talks with the Taliban in September after a bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, (right) and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25., died Wednesday when their helicopter crashed as they provided security for troops on the ground in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan

Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, (right) and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25., died Wednesday when their helicopter crashed as they provided security for troops on the ground in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan

Actor Jon Voight is seen aboard Marine One with the president and his wife as they depart from the South Lawn of the White House last night

Actor Jon Voight is seen aboard Marine One with the president and his wife as they depart from the South Lawn of the White House last night

Jon Voight trails behind President Trump and First Lady Melania last night at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland

Jon Voight trails behind President Trump and First Lady Melania last night at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base. Trump has previously described witnessing the dignified transfer of service members' remains is 'the toughest thing I have to do' as president.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base. Trump has previously described witnessing the dignified transfer of service members’ remains is ‘the toughest thing I have to do’ as president.

Trump and Melania make their way onto Air Force One ahead of its departure from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland last night

Trump and Melania make their way onto Air Force One ahead of its departure from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland last night

Trump is saluted by soldiers as he and Melania step off Marine One last night

Trump is saluted by soldiers as he and Melania step off Marine One last night 

White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien stands behind U.S. President Donald Trump as he salutes the transfer cases

White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien stands behind U.S. President Donald Trump as he salutes the transfer cases

Trump and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke on the phone Thursday, the White House announced, and both ‘agreed a reduction in violence is necessary to move the peace process forward’ and for all-Afghan negotiations regarding a political settlement to be successful.

The president also thanked Ghani for his support in seeking the release of two Western hostages the Taliban freed this week after holding them in captivity for more than three years, said spokesman Judd Deere.

More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year war.

A transfer carry team walks past US President Donald Trump during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base. 'Sometimes they'll run to the coffin. They'll break through military barriers,' Trump said at an unrelated White House event on October 9. 'They'll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately.'

A transfer carry team walks past US President Donald Trump during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base. ‘Sometimes they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers,’ Trump said at an unrelated White House event on October 9. ‘They’ll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately.’

President Trump glances down to the tarmac as his wife, Melania, boards Air Force One last night

President Trump glances down to the tarmac as his wife, Melania, boards Air Force One last night

Last month, as Trump sought to justify his unpopular decision to remove a small contingent of U.S. service members from northeastern Syria, he began to describe his experiences at Dover and argue for removing the U.S. from ‘endless wars’ in the Middle East, which he campaigned on in the 2016 presidential race.

The president has described the sight of cavernous aircraft pulling up on the base, doors opening, uniformed service members carrying flag-draped ‘transfer cases’ and once-stoic parents breaking down.

‘Sometimes they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers,’ Trump said at an unrelated White House event on October 9. ‘They’ll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately.’

Military personnel carry a transfer case for fallen service member, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami, 25, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base

Military personnel carry a transfer case for fallen service member, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami, 25, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base

President Trump salutes as his wife places a hand over her heart. The president has described the sight of cavernous aircraft pulling up on the base, doors opening, uniformed service members carrying flag-draped 'transfer cases' and once-stoic parents breaking down

President Trump salutes as his wife places a hand over her heart. The president has described the sight of cavernous aircraft pulling up on the base, doors opening, uniformed service members carrying flag-draped ‘transfer cases’ and once-stoic parents breaking down

US Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, First Lady Melania Trump, and US President Donald Trump look on during the transfer of the Army pilots' remains

US Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, First Lady Melania Trump, and US President Donald Trump look on during the transfer of the Army pilots’ remains

‘And this is on these endless wars that just never stop,’ he said. ‘And there’s a time and there’s a place, but it’s time to stop.’

Nothing like the scene Trump described took place at Thursday’s ceremony. The families were kept out of sight of the news media.

Trump was also joined by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Sgt. Major Michael Grinston. 

U.S. President Donald Trump greets the transfer cases holding the remains of U.S. Army soldiers Chief Warrant Officer David Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer Kirk Fuchigami, who were killed November 20 in a helicopter crash while supporting ground troops in Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump greets the transfer cases holding the remains of U.S. Army soldiers Chief Warrant Officer David Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer Kirk Fuchigami, who were killed November 20 in a helicopter crash while supporting ground troops in Afghanistan

The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, but the U.S. military has dismissed that as a false claim. The crash remains under investigation. Trump broke off peace talks with the Taliban in September after a bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, but the U.S. military has dismissed that as a false claim. The crash remains under investigation. Trump broke off peace talks with the Taliban in September after a bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

Thursday’s trip was Trump’s second to the Delaware military base this year, and his third visit there overall as president.

Trump went to the base in January 2019 for the return of four Americans who were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Syria.

He attended his first transfer service in February 2017, for the return of a Navy SEAL who was killed during a raid on an al-Qaida compound in Yemen. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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