Soldier's body returns to North Carolina following fatal helicopter crash during training exercise

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Thursday, April 20, 2023
Soldier's body returns to North Carolina
The body of Staff Sgt. Joshua Gore, who was killed in a training accident, has been returned to his North Carolina home.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The body of a soldier killed in a training accident was returned to his North Carolina home on Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Gore died March 29 when two Black Hawk helicopters crashed during a training exercise near Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Eight other soldiers also lost their lives in the accident.

Gore's body arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

About 4:30 p.m., the Patriot Guard Riders began escorting Gore's body to its final resting place in Morehead City.

Gore graduated from West Carteret High School in 2015. He married his high school sweetheart in 2017, and his wife is now expecting the couple's first child later this year.

It remains unclear what caused the crash. Four helicopters were involved in the training exercise. One Black Hawk was refueling and another was flying in front of the two that crashed, which were flying side-by-side.

An Army news release identified the soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division who were killed in the incident as Warrant Officer 1 Jeffrey Barnes, 33; Cpl. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36; Sgt. Isaacjohn Gayo, 27; Staff Sgt. Joshua Gore, 25; Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy, 32; Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, 30; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32; and Sgt. David Solinas Jr., 23.

Those soldiers came from all different backgrounds. Barnes, an aeromedical evacuation pilot, enlisted in the Army from Florida in 2010, going on to deploy to Afghanistan with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, according to service records provided by the Army. Bolanos, a UH-60 helicopter repairer and aircrew member born in the Philippines, enlisted out of Texas in 2019 and in 2020 served for nine months in Germany as part of Atlantic Resolve. A native Texan, Esparza enlisted out of Missouri in 2010 and had served as an instructor pilot for the brigade since October 2021.

Gayo, also born in the Philippines, joined the Army in 2019 out of California. Gore joined the Army in 2015 and had served as a flight paramedic for the brigade since May 2022. Healy had been serving as an Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot for the brigade since 2022, after having joined the Army in 2010. Mitchell enlisted in 2014 and was also serving as a flight paramedic for the brigade.

Smith, from Florida, joined the Army in 2012; he served as an instructor pilot in the brigade and had deployed to Afghanistan twice, in addition to a nine-month rotation in Germany in support of Atlantic Resolve. Solinas, a flight paramedic, joined the service in 2018.

Wednesday's accident was the deadliest aviation training incident since 2015 when 11 service members were killed when a Black Hawk crashed off the coast of Florida.