When the two Black Hawk helicopters crashed on Wednesday evening close to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, they were engaged in a “routine training mission.” When the helicopters crashed, there were five military members in one and four in the other.
“The 101st Airborne Division is going through a very difficult period right now. Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, said that the loss of these soldiers would be felt for years to come.
“The moment for mourning and healing has come. The entire division and this neighborhood support the loved ones of our slain soldiers, according to McGee.
An investigation of the crash is being conducted by an Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Alabama.
The White House and Defense Department offered their condolences after the crash.
“We’re gonna wrap our arms around these families and we’re gonna be there with them,” Kentucky Gov. Andy. Beshear said Thursday at a news conference.
An eyewitness told news reporters how he rushed to the site with a friend when they heard a “loud boom” after spotting the helicopters overhead.
“My heart was just pounding,” Trigg County resident James Hughes said, he saw two fires on the ground and parts of the helicopter but “there wasn’t anything anybody could do.”
Hughes described his neighborhood as close-knit and supportive of soldiers based at nearby Fort Campbell.
“Our prayers go out to them,” he added.
The names, ranks and hometowns of the service members killed are listed below.
Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, of Milton, Florida