Army Suffers Fourth Apache Helicopter Incident In Two Months

Photo by Dustin Senger Fort Carson Public Affairs Office

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Two soldiers were injured after an Army AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed during a training exercise at Fort Carson in Colorado on Wednesday night, officials said, marking the fourth incident with the aircraft in two months.

Base command temporarily grounded all of its aviation assets “until further notice” while investigators from the Army Combat Readiness Center based at Fort Novosel, Alabama, are looking into the incident, Fort Carson officials said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. The two pilots were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released Wednesday night, officials said.

“At approximately 6:30 p.m. a single AH-64 Apache helicopter from the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4thInfantry Division, crashed while conducting routine training on Fort Carson in a southern training area,” Fort Carson officials told the DCNF in a statement. (RELATED: Pentagon Lifts Osprey Flight Ban Despite Obscure Messaging On Safety Improvements)

“We are grateful our Soldiers are safe, and the unit is ensuring the crew, their families and friends are receiving all possible care and support during this time,” the statement read.

On Monday, another non-fatal mishap involving the Apache occurred at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state a little before 10 p.m., reported. As of Wednesday, the two soldiers remained in the hospital in stable condition, Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Bryen Freigo told the outlet.

Army National Guard suffered back-to-back Apache crashes on Feb. 12 and Feb. 23, the latter mishap killing two pilots.

The Guard’s top officer on Feb. 27 ordered an indefinite aviation safety stand-down of all helicopter units across the Army National Guard’s 54 states and jurisdictions while they “review safety policies and procedures,” according to the release from the National Guard Bureau.

Mississippi Army National Guard pilots Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Zemek and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Abbott died when their Apache crashed during a routine training mission on Feb. 23, according to the statement.

Earlier in February, a Utah Army National Guard Apache crashed and ended up on its side during a training exercise, injuring the two crew members, according to KUTV, a Utah CBS affiliate.

The Army Combat Readiness Center was investigating the crashes, Military Times reported at the time.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, land an AH-64D Apache helicopter on a staging area Oct. 12, prior to receiving ammunition for gunnery exercises at Fort Carson, Colo.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, land an AH-64D Apache helicopter on a staging area Oct. 12, prior to receiving ammunition for gunnery exercises at Fort Carson, Colo. (Photo by Dustin Senger, Fort Carson Public Affairs Office / DVIDS)

The Army and Army National Guard operate Apache units around the world. In addition, Boeing produces the platform for several international customers, the website shows.

Separately, two National Guard soldiers — Chief Warrant Officer 2 Casey Frankoski, 28, of Rensselaer, New York, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Grassia, 30, of Schenectady, New York — died when their UH-72 Lakota helicopter crashed near Rio Grande City, Texas, on March 8 while they were supporting the Southwest border mission, the Bureau said in a statement.

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