US identifies airmen slain at Frankfurt airport

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2011 (AFP) - The US Air Force identified Thursday the two US airmen shot dead on a bus at Frankfurt airport.

A lone gunman shot the airmen dead and seriously wounded two others on Wednesday as their military bus waited to take them from Frankfurt airport, one of Europe's busiest, to the nearby airbase of Ramstein, police said.

The Air Force identified the late servicemen as Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, of Williamston, South Carolina, and Airman First Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21, of Stanardsville, Virginia.

It had waited to reveal their identities until their closest relatives were notified.

AFP- Police officers escort a man in a blue overall along a corridor at the German Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe, Germany, 3 March 2011. German investigators said on March 3, 2011 they suspected a Kosovan man arrested for the fatal shooting of two US airmen on their bus at Frankfurt airport is an Islamist. AFP

Alden was assigned to the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath in Britain, while Cuddeback was assigned to the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron at Germany's Ramstein Air Base.

German authorities said they suspected a Kosovan man arrested over the fatal shooting was in fact a fanatic extremist, but played down fears he was part of a cell.

The US military has around 50,000 personnel in Germany at a number of major bases, including Ramstein where the bus was headed, that serve as hubs for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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