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2 Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash at Fort Campbell

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Two soldiers were killed during a routine helicopter training Friday night at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Officials at Fort Campbell identified the casualties as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Connolly, 37, and Warrant Officer James Casadona, 28 in a statement on April 8. Connolly and Casadona were reportedly the only people aboard when the helicopter crashed.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, the statement said.

“The Destiny Brigade has suffered a great tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased,” Col. Craig Alia, commander of the 101st Command Aviation Brigade, said in the statement. “This is an unfortunate event, and we are saddened by the loss of our fellow soldiers.”

Connolly, who was a flight instructor at Fort Campbell, joined the Army in 2001 and had earned a slew of decorations, including two Air Medals and three Army Commendation medals.

Casadona, a pilot, joined the Army in 2012 and had only arrived at Fort Campbell in 2018. He had also earned commendations, including the National Defense Service Medal.

Brig. Gen. Todd Royar, acting senior commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, called the crash “a day of sadness for Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Families during this difficult time,” he said in a previous press release.

Friday’s was the latest in a string of fatal military helicopter crashes. Just two days prior to the Kentucky crash, four Marines were killed in a helicopter crash in California. A U.S. Air Force pilot, later identified as Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, was killed in Nevada on on April 4 when his Thunderbird jet crashed during a routine demonstration flight.

On April 3, a Marine pilot was injured after he ejected from an AV-8B Harrier jet during a faulty takeoff in Djibouti. The pilot was stabilized, but a Marine CH-53 helicopter crashed later the same day, prompting the government of Djibouti to request that the U.S. temporarily suspend aircraft operations.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the year in which Ryan Connolly joined the Army. Connolly joined the Army in 2001, not 2011.

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