Airman Dies in Kuwait in Non-Combat Incident

An Airman died May 24 while deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve the Pentagon announced May 25. 

Maj. Stephen Khou, 36, died in a non-combat related incident, the Department of Defense said in a statement. The incident is under investigation. 

Khou, a native of Philadelphia, was assigned to the 32nd Weapons Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 57th Wing declined further comment on the incident. 

The 32nd Weapons Squadron, activated in 2018, instructs officers in the U.S. Air Force Weapons School on cyber warfare operations, providing “graduate-level training to officers in the planning and execution of offensive and defensive cyber warfare operations.” 

According to online records, Khou authored several research papers while at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he was pursuing a master’s degree. He was a cyberspace operations expert, and his research papers focused primarily on systems security engineering. In 2020, he was named a Joint Forces Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network Defender of the Year for 2019. At the time, he was a captain stationed at Scott Air Force Base,

Khou is the second service member to die in a non-combat incident in Kuwait this week. U.S. Army Central announced May 25 that a soldier was killed in a vehicle accident at Udairi Range. 

The last previous death DOD announced in support of Operation Inherent Resolve was in December 2022, when Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Samuel D. Lecce died in a non-combat incident in Iraq.