On May 25, the Pentagon identified the U.S. Air Force officer who died a day prior in a non-combat-related vehicle accident as Maj. Stephen Khou. According to Rep. John Joyce, R-Pa., Major Khou was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve at the time of his death.
The Air Force has not released any further details about the accident that took Major Khou’s life; however, they have confirmed he was assigned to the 32nd Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. While the incident is still under investigation, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released the following statement:
“It is with deep regret we confirm the death of an Active Duty Air Force Officer on May 24, 2023, following a non-combat related incident at Udairi Range, Kuwait. We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased during this difficult time.”
Non-combat-related incidents are relatively common in the military, and taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety is of utmost importance when deployed overseas. Unfortunate tragedies such as this remind us all of the dangers that our servicemembers face every single day.
In wake of his passing, many servicemembers, organizations, and elected officials have taken to social media to honor Major Khou’s service and legacy. Connecticut National Guard tweeted “Our thoughts and prayers are with the #AirForce family mourning the loss of a major today,” along with a picture of Khou.
Major Khou has been posthumously awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal for his services. He is survived by his parents, wife, and daughter.
Major Stephen Khou will always be remembered for his patriotism, courage, and dedication to his country. Our nation will forever be grateful for his sacrifice and ultimate dedication to protecting the freedoms of our nation.