9 killed after Fort Campbell Black Hawk helicopters crash during 'routine training mission'

Nine people were killed after two Army helicopters from Fort Campbell crashed late Wednesday night in southwestern Kentucky during training.

The two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, part of the 101st Airborne Division, crashed around 10 p.m. in Trigg County, according to a statement from Fort Campbell.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear addressed the incident in a press conference Thursday morning.

“We're going to wrap our arms around these families,” he said. "We’re going to let them know they are loved ... If they’ll allow us to carry some of their grief, we’ll do that as long as we can."

All nine of the people who were killed were based at Fort Campbell, said Brigadier Gen. John Lubas, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division.

"The Army has deployed an aircraft safety team" that will arrive Thursday afternoon from Fort Rucker in Alabama, Lubas said. That team will begin an investigation to help officials "understand what caused this crash in order to prevent accidents like this from happening again."

Despite the losses, Lubas said, no other casualties or injuries have been reported. The aircraft landed "in an open field across from a residential area."

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The Army said that it is doing what it can to notify family members quickly and has been in contact with some local families but that others are located across the U.S. and abroad, making the process more difficult.

The people who were killed have not yet been identified, and Lubas said more details about them will be released once all of their families have been notified.

"This is a truly tragic loss for our families, our division and Fort Campbell, and our No. 1 priority is caring for the soldiers and families within our combat aviation brigade," Lubas said. "Our entire Fort Campbell community is surging resources and support, and our thoughts and prayers are with these families and these soldiers during this difficult time."

Local reactions

Several community members spoke out after incident.

"Please join me in praying for everyone involved in the Fort Campbell helicopter accident, especially our service members and their families. My staff and I are monitoring the situation as we continue to receive more information," Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said.

Rep. Mark Green, who represents Clarksville in Congress, said he and his family were "heartbroken."

"Fort Campbell is one of the closest-knit communities we’ve ever been a part of, and we know this loss is being felt heavily," he said in a statement.

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts also gave his condolences to affected families.

"Cynthia and I are praying for the families and leadership impacted by this news," he said. "The city has communicated with the leadership at Fort Campbell that we are ready to help in any way that is needed.

"We are also grateful for the service and sacrifice of the soldiers and their families who nobly serve and protect our freedom."

What kind of helicopter crashed in Fort Campbell?

Two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the 101st Airborne crashed.

"The Black Hawk UH/HH-60 is the Army’s utility tactical transport helicopter. It provides air assault, general support, aeromedical evacuation, command and control, and special operations support to combat, stability and support operations," according to the Army. It weighs more than 20,000 pounds and can transport 11-person infantry squads.

Where is Fort Campbell?

Fort Campbell is about 60 miles northwest of Nashville, Tennessee. It is located across parts of four counties — Christian and Trigg counties in Kentucky and Montgomery and Stewart counties in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Most of its 105,000 acres are in Tennessee, but its post office is in Kentucky.

What is Fort Campbell?

Brigadier General John Lubas address the press in regards to the Black Hawk crash that occurred early in the morning outside of Fort Campbell in Christian County, KY on Mar. 30, 2023. Soldiers were conducting a training mission when they crashed leaving nine dead.
Brigadier General John Lubas address the press in regards to the Black Hawk crash that occurred early in the morning outside of Fort Campbell in Christian County, KY on Mar. 30, 2023. Soldiers were conducting a training mission when they crashed leaving nine dead.

Fort Campbell is an Army post with the mission to "support expeditionary forces by providing equitable & efficient services that sustain Fort Campbell and enhance the well-being of the military community," according to the Defense website. It's the second-largest post in the country, behind Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

It houses several major units, including the 101st Airborne — the only air assault division in the Army, according to the Defense Department. The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) are also at the post.

It has "supported the training and deployment of front-line Army units involved in the nation’s wars" including World War II and the Vietnam War, the website said.

When was the last military crash?

Two Tennessee National Guard pilots died last month after a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near a highway in Alabama during a training session.

A police helicopter also crashed Sunday in a Louisiana sugar cane field and killed two officers.

USA TODAY contributed to this report. This story will be updated.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: 9 soldiers killed after 2 Kentucky helicopter crash during training