An Army AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed around 1:00 a.m. Saturday during a routine training mission at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, killing two soldiers.
Lt. Col. Jason Brown told Fox News that both the pilot and the co-pilot were killed in the crash.
The two soldiers were identified as 1st Lt. Clayton Cullen, 25, of Indiana, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Burke, 28, of California.
“These gentlemen exemplified all the attributes we expect from our very best leaders,” Col. Scott Gallaway said in a statement. “They were selfless, mission-focused and committed to their teammates. Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to Clayton’s and Kevin’s Families. These two young leaders left an indelible mark on the entire Iron Eagle team. We will forever be better soldiers, and a more combat-ready aviation brigade, due to their leadership.”
The helicopter was with the 4th Infantry Division of Fort Carson, Colorado.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of two 4th Infantry Division Soldiers at the National Training Center today. Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to their families and friends during this difficult and painful time. The loss of any soldier truly saddens everyone here at the Mountain Post and it is a tremendous loss to the team,” Maj. Gen. Randy George told ABC7.
The cause of the Apache helicopter crash is under investigation.
Prior to the Senate finally passing legislation that would implement temporary budget legislation – pending the President’s signature, it was reported that the families of the two soldiers killed would not receive the $100,000 death benefits during the government shutdown.
Fisher House had vowed to step in and compensate the families until the government shutdown ended and the families could be paid again.