Black boxes recovered from Fort Wainwright Army helicopter crash site
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A team of U.S. military investigators from the Army Combat Readiness Center in Ft. Novosel, Alabama arrived in Alaska Sunday evening, April 30 to investigate the deadly crash of the two AH-64 helicopters that took the lives of three servicemen and injured a fourth on Thursday, April 27 at approximately 1:30 p.m.
On Monday morning, May 1, the investigative team was taken to the crash site which is located in rugged mountainous terrain, 50 miles east of Healy. They were able to recover the flight data recorder boxes along with sensitive items that included night vision devices and communications equipment, said John Pennell, a U.S. Army Alaska spokesperson.
The helicopters and soldiers were from the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright. They were returning to Fort Wainwright after training at an aerial gunnery range in the Donnelly Training Area when the collision occurred.
Photographs and updated information about the soldiers who lost their lives is provided by the 11 Airborne Division U.S. Army Alaska.
Christopher Robert Eramo, Chief Warrant Officer 3 joined the Army in January 2005. He was 39-years old. He was previously stationed at Fort Wainwright from 2016 to 2018 and at Fort Richardson from 2005 to 2010. He served more than seven years prior as an enlisted soldier and received numerous awards, medals, and decorations to include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Kyle D. McKenna, Chief Warrant Officer 2 was commissioned in the Army on May 2018 as a second lieutenant and became a warrant officer after completing training in 2021 before reporting to Alaska. He was 28-years old and received awards and badges to include both the Parachute and Air Assault badges and the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Steward Duane Wayment, Warrant Officer 1 joined the Army in January 2017. He graduated Warrant Officer Candidate School in 2020 and reported to Alaska in July 2022. He served more than two years prior as an enlisted soldier. He was 32-years old. He received awards and medals to include the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal amongst others.
The injured soldier is recuperating at home after being released from the hospital, the Army said. The soldier’s name has not been released.
A private memorial ceremony was held for the victims, and soldiers and families of the 1-25th AB at Fort Wainwright on Thursday, May 4.
The investigative team continues to work at the crash site and the cause of the crash is under investigation according to a press release from the U.S. Army 11th Airborne Division.
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