Local News

82nd Airborne Soldiers Victims of Crash

Posted June 1, 2007

— The 82nd Airborne Division confirmed Friday the five soldiers who died when a helicopter went down Wednesday in Afghanistan were from Fort Bragg.

The division said the soldiers, whose names haven't been released, were crew members of the CH-47 Chinook from Task Force Pegasus of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. Two other people from NATO countries were also killed in the crash.

Maj. Tom Earnhardt, director of public affairs for the 82nd Airborne, said there is no clear indication why the helicopter crashed. The incident is under investigation, he said.

"This is a stark reminder of the sacrifice facing our paratroopers and their families," Earnhardt said at a Friday afternoon news conference outside Fort Bragg.

Three of Fort Bragg's four brigades are already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fourth is scheduled to deploy this summer.

The Chinook was on a routine troop movement in the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, which is considered a hostile environment, and was leaving the area after dropping off about 40 paratroopers when it crashed, he said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for attacking the aircraft, and a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force has said initial indications suggested enemy fire may have brought down the Chinook.

A U.S. military official, who insisted on speaking anonymously because the crash was under investigation, has said reports suggested the helicopter was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade.

But Lt. Col. David Accetta, the top U.S. military spokesman at Bagram Air Base, has said enemy fire was only one of several possibilities.

The deaths bring the total number of 82nd Airborne members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to 121, Earnhardt said. In April, nine paratroopers were killed in Iraq -- the division's worst one-day loss in more than a decade -- when two car bombs exploded in the Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad.

"The loss of any paratrooper is tragic, and it's unacceptable. We're a family, sort of a brotherhood," Earnhardt said. "When adversity and tragedy strike us, the mood is generally resolute. We've got to pick up and get on with it. That doesn't diminish the loss."

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at Bagram Air Base. No service has been scheduled at Fort Bragg, he said.


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  • fossil592 Jun 2, 2007

    Nicely said Worland

    Weather u agree with the conflict that is occuring right now does not matter,its our job to support those troops. The soldiers and saliors believe what they are doing is right, if not they would find a way out of the service. I don't think we should be over there, but thats not going to stop me from supporting them.

  • msncdso Jun 2, 2007

    What a waste of human life. I've been waiting for someone in 'authority' to state exactly what 'victory' will look like. How will we know it when it happens?

  • msncdso Jun 2, 2007

    What a waste of good people. I've been waiting for someone to state exactly what

  • sfo49er Jun 2, 2007

    Thanks JDPike. Learn something everyday huh?

  • JDPike Jun 2, 2007

    Ft. Bragg, California - Lieutenant Horatio G. Gibson, then serving at the Presidio in San Francisco, established a military post on the Mendocino Indian Reservation approximately one and one-half miles north of the Noyo River. He named the camp for his former commanding officer Captain Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy. The official date of the establishment of the fort was June 11, 1857. Its purpose was to maintain order on the reservation.

    Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Camp Bragg was established on September 4th, 1918, as an artillery training ground. It was named for a native North Carolinian, Gen. Braxton Bragg, who fought in the Civil War.

    Two forts named after one man, must have been one heck of a soldier.

  • sfo49er Jun 2, 2007

    oops - "there" not "their" Sorry to you mis-spelled word

  • sfo49er Jun 2, 2007

    Just a question - Does anyone know why their is a Fort Bragg in N.C. and one in Northern California.

  • sfo49er Jun 2, 2007

    My heart and Soul goes out to the families and soldiers fighting for our freedom. Sorry Sunday Sailor - I'm praying to God.

    Good Morning Spiritwarrior.

  • mlcox Jun 1, 2007

    The title of the news story is "82nd Airborne Soldiers Victims of Crash". Why are their deaths being used for a debate on if you believe in God or not? Don't you have to acknowledge that God exists before you can say you don't believe in him?

  • Samjoy Jun 1, 2007

    God bless the troops...i think about them often and send up another prayer! Thanks for all that you do and may God look over you