April 8, 2018 / 10:38 PM / in a year

U.S. Army identifies 2 pilots killed in Kentucky helicopter crash

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. Army on Sunday identified two pilots killed in a helicopter crash during training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in the fourth American military aircraft mishap in less than a week.

The soldiers - identified as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Connolly, 37, and Warrant Officer James Casadona, 28 - died when their AH-64E Apache helicopter went down at Fort Campbell’s local training area late on Friday, the 101st Airborne Division said in a statement.

Connolly was an instructor pilot with the 101st Combat Aviation “Destiny” Brigade and joined the Army in 2001. He had been awarded the Air Medal twice and was a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, the statement said.

Casadona, also a pilot with the brigade, had joined the Army in 2012 and arrived at Fort Campbell in 2016.

“The Destiny Brigade has suffered a great tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased,” Colonel Craig Alia, the unit’s commander, said in the statement.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Fort Campbell crash came after a Marine helicopter went down during training in Southern California on Tuesday. All four crewmembers were believed to be killed.

A Marine jet also went down in Djibouti on Tuesday. The pilot was later reported in stable condition.

On Wednesday, a U.S. Air Force pilot with the traveling Thunderbirds exhibition squad died when his F-16 fighter plane crashed in Nevada. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by David Gregorio)

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