Nine U.S. soldiers are dead after a helicopter crash this week in Kentucky – two of the service members are from Missouri.
A statement from Fort Campbell U.S. Army base says Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, of Rolla, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36, of Jackson, are among the members killed in the Wednesday night crash.
Two Black Hawk helicopters crashed in what the 101st Airborne Division said was a planned training mission. There were no survivors.
“This is a time of great sadness for the 101st Airborne Division. The loss of these soldiers will reverberate through our formations for years to come,” said Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell. “Now is the time for grieving and healing. The whole division and this community stand behind the families and friends of our fallen soldiers.”
Smith enlisted in the Army in 2012 and deployed twice to Afghanistan. Esparza enlisted in the Army in 2010 and deployed to Afghanistan, Egypt, Japan and Hawaii.
An Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Alabama is on site and investigating the crash.
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