3 people from Kan. unit die in Afghanistan crash

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GARDNER, Kan. (AP) -- Three Army reservists based in northeast Kansas are among the victims of a deadly helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

The victims include 23-year-old Spc. Alexander Bennett, a door gunner from Olathe, Kan., and 31-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan Nichols, a pilot from Kansas City, Mo.

Lt. Col. Richard Sherman, the former commander of Bravo Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment based at the Gardner, Kan. airport, said he received confirmation of the deaths late Saturday.

He said Bennett had returned in 2009 from a deployment with a unit from the Tacoma, Wash., area. He moved to Kansas because he wanted to deploy with the unit based there.

Sherman described Nichols as a good friend who had "no enemies." He leaves behind a wife and son from a previous marriage.

A third soldier from the unit, Spc. Spencer Duncan of Olathe, Kan., has also been confirmed dead in the crash.