Army identifies Apache gunship crew killed in California helicopter crash

First Lieutenant Clayton R. Cullen (left) and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin F. Burke were killed during a training accident when their AH-64 helicopter crashed on Saturday. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Two combat aviators of Fort Carson’s 4th Infantry Division have been identified following an AH-64 Apache gunship crash over the weekend, sending shockwaves throughout the Army aviation community.

1st Lieutenant Clayton R. Cullen and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin F. Burke were killed early Saturday morning while conducting training operations at the California-based National Training Center at Fort Irwin.

While the cause of the accident is still under investigation, many past and present Army aviators have placed emphasis on the hazardous flying conditions that the National Training Center is known for, namely the weather and terrain.

Both pilots were assigned to the 4th Infantry Divisions’ 4th Combat Aviation Brigade.

“We are all deeply saddened by the deaths of 1st Lt. Clayton R. Cullen and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin F. Burke,” said Colonel Scott Gallaway, 4th CAB Commander, said in a statement released by the Army. “These gentlemen exemplified all the attributes we expect from our very best leaders. They were selfless, mission-focused, and committed to their teammates. Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to Clayton’s and Kevin’s Families. These two young leaders left an indelible mark on the entire Iron Eagle team. We will forever be better Soldiers, and a more combat-ready aviation brigade, due to their leadership.”

A native of Indiana, 1st Lieutenant Cullen was relatively new to the officer corps at the time of the crash. CW2 Burke, whose home of record was the very state he met his untimely fate in, was prior-enlisted with multiple deployments and the Combat Infantry Badge.

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

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