The U.S. Army Special Operations Command identified the five U.S. troops killed in a helicopter crash in the Eastern Mediterranean earlier this month. All five troops were Army aviation special operations forces that were highly decorated.
The Army has identified the service members that have passed as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34; Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26; Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27; Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24.
All five service members were a part of the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. This regiment is based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Five U.S. special operations soldiers died in a helicopter crash in the Mediterranean Sea near Cyprus. Officials say it happened during a routine air refueling mission. @jayobtv has more on why the troops were there. https://t.co/evpKrfw9Rn pic.twitter.com/6DGe1fyTzk
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) November 13, 2023
According to the military’s European Command, the UH-60 helicopter the US service members were in went down during a training accident. The helicopter was part of an air refueling mission during training.
Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga, the commander of the Army Special Operations Command, expressed his sorrow over the loss of these five U.S. troops in a statement. “This is devastating news that reverberates across the entire Special Operations community,” he said.
“Every loss is tough,” he continued. “But in this case, service to the Nation is truly a family business and it’s hard to express the amount of sorrow that we all feel right now.”
Braga also explained that these five service members all came from “rare patriotic families with deep military service ties that span multiple generations and formations.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also released a statement about the “tragic loss” in the Mediterranean Sea. He said that the military will continue to investigate the “deadly crash”, as it remains under investigation.
Austin also explained that this accident is “another stark reminder that the brave men and women who defend our great nation put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our country safe.”
Though the accident is under investigation, the military announced that there are no indications that any hostile activity was involved in the crash.
According to AP News, there wasn’t immediate clarity about which military service the aircraft belonged to when news of the crash was first revealed. Amid growing escalations in the Middle East, the U.S. has built up its presence in the East Mediterranean.