Nine Soldiers Killed In Blackhawk Collision


Nine Army soldiers were killed when two Blackhawk helicopters collided during a “multi-ship” night training mission in Kentucky late Wednesday. The helicopters were operated by 101st Airborne Division, the so-called Screaming Eagles, the Army’s only airborne assault unit based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The crews were using night vision gear on the exercise when the crash occurred over a rural area of Trigg County near the Tennessee border.

There were four soldiers on one of the helicopters and five on the other. It’s not clear how many other helicopters were in the formation. The crash comes a few weeks after a Tennessee National Guard Blackhawk crashed beside a highway in northern Alabama, killing both pilots.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Agree “so-called ” is not needed here. The 101st has earned the title. I read the comments concerning pilot currency and pre-flight planning. While true enough, our military, all of them train in harsh conditions. They have to or mission success is endangered. A long time ago I had the great privilege of riding along with both rotary wing and fixed wing Army pilots. Using my experience now as a retired CFI, they fine, accomplished pilots. I have no doubt these are just as skilled as the ones I rode with 50 years ago.

    To the 9. Rest in peace. Your loss diminishes us all. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

  2. “so-called” – adjective
    used to show that something or someone is commonly designated by the name or term specified.

    Pretty poor reading comprehension in this group.

      • You may have taken it in a derogatory way, but there is zero evidence that he meant it that way.

        A quick survey of online dictionaries shows some listing the classic definition first, some vice-versa. You don’t have a clue as to which meaning he was using . . .

        . . . or do you?

        Look at his picture. Based upon the gray in his hair, we can deduce that he comes from a generation – as does your humble narrator – that still thinks first of the traditional meaning.

    • In common usage, “so-called” implies something contrary to fact.

      “used to express one’s view that a name or term is inappropriate”

      That’s from Oxford. What does that make you? Maybe not as big a genius as you were thinking.

      • A quick google search for “so-called screaming eagles” (make sure to include the quotes) shows that it’s a common phrase in all kinds of publications, with nothing derogatory implied.

        AvWeb commenters, as usual, making mountains out of molehills.

    • Definitely there is a journalistic standard and then there is the actual definition. I’d love everybody to stick to the standard meanings and try to resist language drift, but I’m in the minority.

      As someone married to a journalist with a Masters in Communications I can assure you that it’s the journalists who insist on using the common speech rather than sticking to formal and traditional definitions.

      The author here is being hoist by his tribe’s own petard. I will gladly support him if he wants to take a public stand against the other journalists here though.

  3. Such a waste. Agree heavy preflight on all angles of the formation flying op might have prevented it; but, maybe this was an oh-shit op with no preflight? Sincerest condolences to all.

  4. RIP:

    Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, of Milton, Florida
    Cpl. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, of Austin Texas
    Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36, of Jackson, Missouri
    Sgt. Isaac John Gayo, 27, of Los Angeles, California
    SSgt Joshua C. Gore, 25, of Morehead City, North Carolina
    Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy, 32, of Cape Coral Florida
    SSgt Taylor Mitchell, 30, of Mountain Brook, Alabama
    Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, of Rolla, Missouri
    Sgt David Solinas Jr., 23, of Oradell, New Jersey

  5. On Monday (April 3), the 101st Airborne Division said Bolanos has posthumously been promoted to Sergeant, Esparza to Chief Warrant Officer 3 and Healy to Chief Warrant Officer 2.