Black Hawk crashes in Afghanistan, killing four GIs


U.S. military ground crew perform maintainance work on a UH-60 Black Hawk at the U.S. military air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, Thursday. A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter with several Americans aboard crashed near the air base on Thursday, and some casualties were reported, a senior American official said.

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Published: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 2:25 a.m.

Facts

On the Net:

  • The Black Hawk: http://www.dtic.mil/armylink/photos/Feb1997/blkhawk.html and http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/uh-60.htm
  • Central Command: http://www.centcom.mil

  • WASHINGTON - Four U.S. soldiers were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, U.S. officials said. The cause was being investigated.
    It was the deadliest day for the American military in Afghanistan since March 4, 2002, when seven soldiers were killed and 11 wounded at the outset of an offensive against Taliban and al-Qaeda remnant forces.
    The UH-60 Black Hawk, with two pilots and two crew members aboard, crashed several miles east of Bagram air base in an area known as the East Training Range, said Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications at Central Command headquarters in Tampa.
    Wilkinson said there were no indications of hostile fire. He said it appeared to be an accident but no other details were available.
    Details on the victims, including their names and Army unit affiliations, were not immediately released.
    An Associated Press reporter in Afghanistan who attempted to reach the scene of the crash was turned back by Afghan security. U.S. military authorities at Bagram referred all questions to Central Command.
    Bagram is the main base of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
    The Black Hawk is a utility transport aircraft designed to carry 11 combat-ready, air assault troops, and it is capable of moving a 105-millimeter howitzer, its crew of six and 30 rounds of ammunition.
    It is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., which also makes an export version called the S-70A Black Hawk.
    The UH-60 Black Hawk was first fielded in 1978 and made its combat debut in the October 1983 invasion of Grenada. It performs a variety of missions, including air assault, air cavalry and aeromedical evacuations. In addition, modified Black Hawks operate as command and control, electronic warfare, and special operations aircraft.
    The last previous American killed in Afghanistan was Sgt. Steven Checo, 22, a member of the Army's 82nd Airborne. He was shot Dec. 21, 2002, while on a nighttime operation in the eastern province of Paktika, near the border of Pakistan.
    Since U.S. military action in Afghanistan began in October 2001, at least five U.S. helicopters have crashed or had hard landings that have injured or killed troops. Two Army Rangers and two Marines have been killed, and at least 11 other troops have been injured.
    On Oct. 19, 2001, Army Ranger Pfc. Kristofor Stonesifer, 28, and Spc. John J. Edmunds, 20, were killed in the crash of a Black Hawk in Pakistan.

    Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

    ▲ Return to Top