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CIA Employee Dies in Helicopter Crash in El Salvador

March 31, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An employee of the Central Intelligence Agency died last week when a Salvadoran military helicopter crashed in the eastern part of that Central American country, the State Department said Monday

The State Department and CIA both refused to release the identity of the American victim, even though both agencies said that next-of-kin had been notified.

The Quincy, Mass., Patriot Ledger reported Monday, however, that a former area resident named Richard D. Krobock died last week in a helicopter crash in El Salvador.

The newspaper quoted the man’s father, Dr. John R. Krobock of Sacramento, Calif., as saying he had been informed of his son’s death but provided no details of the incident.

The paper described Krobock as a captain in the Army. But according to the Army, Capt. Richard D. Krobock, 31, left the service with an honorable discharge last November.

Krobock, a 1979 graduate of West Point, was initially trained for the Army’s armored units, but switched to aviation in 1981 and served the rest of his military career as a helicopter pilot, said Maj. Bruce Bell, a spokesman.

Bell said the Army had no records of Krobock’s activities after he left the service.

″An employee of the CIA assigned to the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador was killed March 26 when a Salvadoran military helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed five kilometers north of the town of Chinameca″ in the San Miguel province, said Greg Lagana, a State Department spokesman.

″The next-of-kin have been notified.″

Asked for the victim’s identity, Lagana referred a reporter to the CIA where spokeswoman Kathy Pherson subsequently declined comment Monday.

The Salvadoran military had announced the helicopter crash last week, saying a U.S.-made UH-1H Huey had been lost on a flight from San Miguel to San Salvador. At the time, however, the victims were said to have included only four Salvadorans.

Lagana said the crash did, in fact, kill four Salvadorans but that a CIA employee was also aboard.

″We have nothing on the cause of the crash,″ he added. ″But it is highly unlikely that any hostile fire was involved. We do not believe there were any guerrillas in the area at time.″

However, rebels have been quite active in the San Miguel province.

Lagana said the weather at the time of the crash was overcast, but that he had no further details.

The Patriot-Ledger, in its report Monday, quoted Krobock’s father as saying he was unfamiliar with his son’s work in Central America.

″If he had a job to perform, I didn’t ask,″ the elder Krobock said. ″I know he was doing what he believed in.″

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