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US Army soldier killed in vehicle crash near Alaska base

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Casey A. Popeno. (U.S. Army photo/Released)
September 09, 2020

A U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska was killed on Saturday in a single-vehicle accident.

In a statement provided to American Military News, the Army identified the deceased soldier as 39-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 3 Casey A. Popenoe. The crash occurred around Chena Pump Road in Fairbanks.

Details about the crash were not immediately available and the incident is under investigation.

Popenoe was a targeting officer with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. He joined the Army in January of 2002 and was appointed as a warrant officer in October 2012.

Popenoe served two combat tours of duty in Iraq, with the first one from December 2003 to February 2005, and the second from December 2007 to February 2009. His decorations included the Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters; Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Army Good Conduct Medal with three oak leaf clusters; the Combat Action Badge; Parachutist Badge; National Defense Service Medal; and the Army Service Ribbon.

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Popenoe’s previous duty stations included Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Fort Lewis, Washington; and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, before he arrived in Alaska in June 2017.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Casey A. Popenoe, who volunteered to serve his country as an American Soldier, and who was a good man to all who knew him,” said Lt. Col. Gene Palka, commander of 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment. “This tragedy has taken a loved-one much too soon from his family and his friends.”

Another Army soldier, Spc. Marquise Gabriel Elliott, 25, was previously killed in June of 2019 in a training accident at the Yukon Training Area near Fort Wainwright when the vehicle he was in rolled over.

Another Fort Wainwright soldier, Pfc. Prentice Letroy Lewis-Rankin, 20, was killed in a head-on collision while driving on Parks Highway near the towns of Talkeetna and Willow, north of Anchorage.