This past weekend, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command formally identified the five Army aviation special operations forces who perished in a helicopter crash over the Eastern Mediterranean during a military training air refueling mission over the weekend.
Army Special Operations Command mourns 5 US troops killed in helicopter crash https://t.co/54vHVAOPC5
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 14, 2023
The command referred to the fallen soldiers as national treasures, as they were from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Army based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The deceased service members were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38, of Clarksville, Tennessee; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, California; Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26, of Gorham, New Hampshire; Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Apache Junction, Arizona; and Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24, of Mankato, Minnesota.
The Army Special Operations Command was led by Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga who expressed the loss with deep regret, noting that the soldiers hailed from a military family background and a generation of service to the U.S. military. He underscored the great consequence of their sacrifice on the Special Operations community.
Many of the fallen soldiers who had been decorated with several combat deployments gave a good account of their country. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dwyer, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal with Combat device.
Chief Warrant Officer Barnes was a pilot of the MH-60M who graduated from Gonzaga University and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor device and the Air Medal with Combat device.
Grone enlisted in 2017, serving as a UH-60 repairer, flight instructor, and MH-60M crew chief, and awarding him the Air Medal with Combat device and the Army Commendation Medal.
Sgt. Southard, an army repairer and a UH-60 repairer, as well as a MH-60M crew chief, received awards for his service which included two army commendation medals and an army achievement medal. Wolfe, a UH-60 repairer and MH-60M crew chief, earned medals such as two Army Commendation medals and an Army Achievement medal.
Two carrier strike groups are currently active in the region, and U.S. Air Force squadrons have been equipped with extra soldiers and warplanes, while additional special ops forces have been deployed to Israel to help rescue hostages in Gaza.