The three troops killed after two helicopters collided in Alaska while returning from a training exercise were recognized by the U.S. Army on Saturday.
When the helicopters crashed at 1:39 pm on Thursday, they were on their way to Fort Wainwright after a mission in the Donnelly Training Area, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Healy.
After 12 troops lost their lives in helicopter crashes in Kentucky and Alaska within the past month, the U.S. Army stated Friday that it had put aviation units on indefinite hold for training.
The Army issued a statement saying that the action “grounds all Army aviators, except those taking part in critical missions, until they complete the required training.”
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Army Identifies 3 Soldiers Killed In Alaska Helicopter Crash https://t.co/KjKY8KhhFU
— News On 6 (@NewsOn6) April 30, 2023
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Robert Eramo, 39, of Oneonta, New York, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle D. McKenna, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Warrant Officer 1 Stewart Duane Wayment, 32, of North Logan, Utah, were all fatalities in the accident on Thursday.
A fourth soldier was injured and transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where his condition was recorded as stable. He went unnamed on Saturday.
The commander of the 1-25th AB, Lt. Col. Matthew C. Carlsen, remarked that the battalion was “devastated and mourning the loss of three of our best.” He claimed that their loss was incomparable to the pain experienced by the soldiers’ families.
I pledge that this will continue far into the future. “The entire team has come together to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions to provide and sustain them with whatever comfort and support they need at this time,” he stated.
The safety inquiry is being led by a Safety inquiry Team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, located at Fort Novosel, Alabama, according to officials.
According to the statement, the investigators are not permitted to provide any material to the public regarding the causes, analyses, or internal recommendations due to Department of Defense directives and Army laws.
“The loss of these Soldiers is devastating and is being felt by family, friends and military communities across Alaska,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division. “The families of Fort Wainwright and 1-25 are as strong a team as I’ve ever seen. Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of the fallen.”