A United States Navy dive and salvage team recently completed a successful recovery mission for the bodies of three U.S. soldiers lost in November’s MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in the Mediterranean Sea, which claimed the lives of five soldiers.
According to a Navy press release released on Thursday, the Navy utilized “state-of-the-art underwater survey and recovery equipment mounted on the Deep Drone,” which is a remotely operated vehicle capable of reaching a depth of up to 8,000 feet.
“The success of this mission can be attributed to highly trained Sailors, Soldiers, and civilians from the combined Army-Navy team who came together and displayed extreme skill to safely recover the helicopter,” Cdr. John Kennedy said. “Everyone onboard was humbled by the opportunity to play a small role in helping to bring closure to grieving families.”
According to an Army Special Operations Command statement obtained by Military.com, the Army’s MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was recovered on Dec. 15, and the remains of the three soldiers were transported to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. The bodies of the other two soldiers who were killed in the crash were recovered shortly after the crash in November.
The Department of Defense previously released the identities of the five soldiers killed in the helicopter crash in the Mediterranean Sea. The victims included 38-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer from Clarksville, Tennessee; 34-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes from Sacramento, California; 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone from Gorham, New Hampshire; 27-year-old Sgt. Andrew P. Southard from Apache Junction, Arizona; and 24-year-old Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe from Mankato, Minnesota.
According to Military.com, the soldiers killed in November’s crash were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, under the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command. According to the Army, the Black Hawk helicopter “experienced an in-flight emergency” during aerial refueling training, which resulted in the tragic crash.
The crash in the Mediterranean Sea occurred as the United States was in the middle of deploying additional resources to the Middle East in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel.
Military.com reported that while a senior defense official did not comment on whether the Army unit was specifically in the region in support of Israel, the anonymous official explained the unit was “there in response to the dynamic security environment in the region.”
Additionally, a statement released by U.S. European Command noted, “The aircraft sortie was purely related to training and there are no indications of hostile activity.”
According to the Navy’s press release, the cause of the November helicopter crash is still “under investigation.”