Fourteen Task Force Lightning Soldiers died when the aircraft they were flying went down in Kirkuk province, killing all passengers and crew on board, August 22nd.
Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were conducting night operations when one of the aircraft went down shortly after extracting the Soldiers from a combat mission. On board were four Fort Lewis, Wash.-based aircrew members and 10 Schofield Barracks, Hawaii-based passengers.
“There is no doubt this is a tragic event, not only for Task Force Lightning, but also for the families and fellow Soldiers in the Schofield and Fort Lewis communities,” said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning and the 25th Infantry Division. “I extend my sincere condolences to those deeply affected by the loss of these warriors.”
The incident occurred shortly after takeoff, after completing the ground portion of a night operation.
Initial reports and on-scene observations indicate mechanical failure led to the downing.
“Our prayers go out to the families and loved ones of these American heroes,” said Mixon. “These losses reinforce our resolve in this war and strengthen our commitment of service to our Nation.”
USA File Photo by AF Staff Sgt Jacob Bailey