WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Monday identified the five Army aviation special operations forces killed when their UH-60 helicopter crashed in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The military’s European Command said the helicopter went down over the weekend during an air refueling mission as part of military training.
The five service members who died 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 U.S. has built up its force presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. There are two carrier strike groups operating in the region, U.S. Air Force squadrons have received additional crews and warplanes, and U.S. special operations forces have been added to help Israel in efforts to rescue hostages taken into Gaza.
Army aviation special operations forces are assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The group has almost 3,000 soldiers and more than 200 aircraft, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.