The identities of the nine soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident during a planned training exercise near Fort Campbell, Kentucky on Wednesday evening have been officially released.
The fallen soldiers, who ranged in age from 23 to 36, were from different towns and cities across the country. Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, was from Milton, Florida. Cpl. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, was from Austin, Texas. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36, was from Jackson, Missouri. Sgt. Isaacjohn Gayo, 27, was from Los Angeles, California. Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Gore, 25, was from Morehead City, North Carolina. Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy, 32, was from Cape Coral, Florida. Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, 30, was from Mountain Brook, Alabama. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, was from Rolla, Missouri. Sgt. David Solinas Jr, 23, was from Oradell, New Jersey.
Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, expressed his deep sadness for the fallen soldiers and their families. “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. Now is the time for grieving and healing. The whole division and this community stand behind the families and friends of our fallen soldiers.”
The accident has deeply affected the Fort Campbell community and the country as a whole. The Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Alabama is currently investigating the incident.