Army Identified 3 Soldiers Killed In An Alaska Chopper Crash

The U.S. Army identified on Saturday the three soldiers who were killed when two helicopters collided in Alaska while returning from a training mission.

When they crashed at 1:39 p.m., Thursday, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Healy, the helicopters were going to Fort Wainwright from a task in the Donnelly Training Area.

After 12 troops died in helicopter crashes in Alaska and Kentucky last month, the U.S. Army said on Friday that it had stopped all aviation units for training.

“The move grounds all Army aviators, except those participating in critical missions, until they complete the required training,” the Army said in a statement.

Killed in Thursday’s crash were 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.

A fourth soldier was injured, taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, and listed in stable condition. He was not identified Saturday.

“The battalion is devastated and mourning the loss of three of our best,” said Lt. Col. Matthew C. Carlsen, the 1-25th AB commander. He said their loss can’t be compared to the suffering the soldiers’ families felt.

 Army Identified 3 Soldiers Killed In An Alaska

“The whole team has come together to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions on giving them the comfort and support they need right now,” he said. “This will continue for a long time to come.”

Officials said in an email that a team is leading the safety probe from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center in Fort Novosel, Alabama.

Instructions from the Department of Defense and Army rules say that the investigators can’t tell the public anything about the causes, analysis, or internal suggestions, the statement said.

“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.”

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