Army identifies Apache helicopter pilots killed during crash at Fort Campbell

The US Army has identified two Army aviators killed in a tragic helicopter crash on Friday at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Screaming Eagle pilots Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Connolly and Warrant Officer James Casadona were killed when their AH-64 Apache gunship crashed at around 9:50 PM on April 6.

(U.S. Army)

With nearly seventeen years in the Army, the 37-year-old Connoly was an instructor pilot who had been assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in 2016, while 28-year-old Casadona was relatively new to the Warrant Officer corps, having only joined the Army in 2012.

The men belonged to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, known the world over by their motto, “Wings of Destiny.”

“The Destiny Brigade has suffered a great tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased,” said brigade commander Colonel Craig Alia. “This is an unfortunate event, and we are saddened by the loss of our fellow soldiers. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the families as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.”

According to CNN, the latest accident adds to a staggering toll of seven killed in military aircraft crashes last week, prompting some members of Congress to speak up about readiness and safety issues that affect a military plagued -and worn down- by seemingly endless conflict.

“What has been evident to me for some time is now becoming clear to the American people. The readiness of our military is at a crisis point,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said. “Congress voted to provide our troops the funds they need to begin turning this crisis around. There can be no higher priority for the Department of Defense than ensuring that our aircraft are safe and that pilots get the training they need.”

Since the middle of last month, over sixteen servicemembers have been killed in military aircraft mishaps.

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