NJ soldier killed in Army training double helicopter crash
One of the nine soldiers involved in the double Blackhawk crash during a night exercise in southwest Kentucky was a New Jersey man.
Two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed near Fort Campbell on Wednesday night during a medical evacuation training exercise, killing all nine soldiers aboard the two aircraft.
The crash occurred in Trigg County, Kentucky, about 30 miles northwest of the Army post that is home to the 101st Airborne Division.
Sgt. David Solinas Jr., 23, of Oradell, was identified by the 101st Airborne Division as one of the soldiers.
“This is a time of great sadness for the 101st Airborne Division. The loss of these Soldiers will reverberate through our formations for years to come,” Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell said. “Now is the time for grieving and healing. The whole division and this community stand behind the families and friends of our fallen soldiers.”
Solinas was a rugby player and wrestler at River Dell High School in Oradell where he was a member of the Class of 2018. He attended Norwich University in Vermont before joining the Army.
Honoring a fallen soldier
Gov. Phil Murphy said that flags at state facilities in New Jersey will fly at half staff on Tuesday.
"Tammy and I are devastated by the news that Sgt. David Solinas of Oradell was among those who lost their lives Wednesday when a nighttime training mission among Blackhawk helicopters in Kentucky ended in tragedy," Murphy said in a statement.
The American Special Children's Pilgrimage Group, which provides a life-changing annual Easter Week pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, for young people with physical and developmental disabilities, expressed its condolences at Solinas' death.
"David Solinas was a member of Group 604 (Youth Group), and the entire Solinas family has been involved with our Lourdes pilgrimages since 2011. May God bring him and his fellow soldiers swiftly home, and comfort all who mourn," the group wrote on its Facebook page.
The two Black Hawks were flying together during a training exercise at night, Army officials said. The pilots were using night-vision goggles. The accident occurred during flying and not during the course of a medical evacuation drill, said Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the 101st Airborne deputy commander.
(Includes material copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.