Army grounds aviation units after recent crashes

Fort Bragg (Photo by Lou Guilette)

The Army is grounding aviation units for five days in light of recent helicopter crashes that have claimed the lives of six service members.

The directive was issued Monday from General Robert "Abe" Abrams, commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command. FORSCOM is based at Fort Bragg, and includes active-duty Army aviation units.

"My decision to ground our aircraft today is taken with the utmost seriousness and my responsibility as the Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command," said Abrams. "I have a duty to ensure that we are doing all that we can to prevent loss of life and aviation accidents, and that is why we're standing down to review our procedures and reaffirm our commitment to operating our aircraft safely and effectively. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Soldiers who died recently in these accidents."

The most recent crash happened during a routine training exercise 12 miles south on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Two pilots flying an AH-64D Apache were killed. They were assigned to the 101 Aviation Brigade.On November 23rd, four crew members died when a UH-60 Black Hawk crashed on a Fort Hood, Texas range.

FORSCOM aviation leaders will review training procedures and safety precautions during the five day stand down. They are also examining unit-level investigations, as the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center investigates the recent accidents.

"We cannot allow tragedy to pass unacknowledged," Abrams said. "We must do whatever is needed to make certain that our Soldiers are training and operating safely."

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