A Safety Investigation Team from Fort Novosel in Dale County is leading the investigation into the collision of two U.S. Army helicopters in Alaska.

The helicopters were returning to Fort Wainwright from a training mission when they crashed Thursday, April 27.

Those killed have been identified as 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 was hurt and was taken to the hospital for treatment. The soldier is now in stable condition.

“The loss of these Soldiers is devastating and is being felt by family, friends and military communities across Alaska,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division. “The families of Fort Wainwright and 1-25 are as strong a team as I’ve ever seen. Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of the fallen.”

“The battalion is devastated and mourning the loss of three of our best,” said Lt. Col. Matthew C. Carlsen, the 1-25th AB commander. “The entire team has come together to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions to provide and sustain them with whatever comfort and support they need at this time, and I promise that this will continue long into the future.”

The Army grounded aviation units for training after the crash.

The cause of the crash has not been revealed.

Fort Novosel serves as headquarters for Army Aviation. Soldiers at the post develop, coordinate and deploy aviation operations, training and doctrine.

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