Utah soldier among three dead in Alaska helicopter crash
Stewart Duane Wayment, 32, of North Logan, died in Thursday’s collision
Seattle • The US Army on Saturday identified the three soldiers killed in the collision of two helicopters in Alaska while returning from a training mission.
The helicopters were being guided to Fort Wainwright by a mission at Donnelly Training Area when they crashed about 50 miles east of Healy at 1:39 p.m. Thursday.
The US Army announced Friday it is grounding aviation units for training after 12 soldiers died in helicopter crashes in Alaska and Kentucky over the past month.
“The move grounds all Army aviators, except for those participating in critical missions, until they complete the required training,” the Army said in a statement.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Robert Eramo, 39, of Oneonta, New York; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle D. McKenna, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Warrant Officer 1 Stewart Duane Wayment, 32, of North Logan, Utah.
A fourth soldier was injured and taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and taken in stable condition. He was not identified on Saturday.
“The battalion is devastated and mourning the loss of three of our finest,” said Lt. Col. Matthew C. Carlsen, the 1-25. AB commander. Their loss cannot be compared to the suffering of the soldiers’ families, he said.
“The entire team has come together to focus our thoughts, prayers and actions on offering and receiving them the comfort and support they need at this time and I promise it will continue to be so for a long time to come.” will,” he said.
A Safety Investigation Team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, based in Fort Novosel, Alabama, is leading the safety investigation, officials said in an email.
Instructions from the Department of Defense and Army regulations prohibit investigators from releasing causal information, analysis or internal recommendations to the public, the statement said.
“The loss of these Soldiers is devastating and is being felt by family, friends and the military community across Alaska,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division. “The families of Fort Wainwright and 1-25 are the strongest team I’ve ever seen. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of the fallen.”