Twelve soldiers have been killed in accidents in the past month, including a fatal accident earlier this week
The US military has ordered non-critical military flights grounded after fatal helicopter crashes in Alaska and Kentucky. The Pentagon said all Airmen, including active duty troops, must undergo additional security training.
The military branch announced the decision on Friday, saying the order is effective immediately for all military personnel except those “participate in critical missions.”
“The safety of our Airmen is our top priority, and this resignation is an important step in ensuring that we are doing everything we can to prevent accidents and protect our personnel,” said Army Chief of Staff James McConville.
The ground stop was prompted by a series of recent incidents involving military aircraft. On Thursday, two AH-64 Apache helicopters crashed near Healy, Alaska, following a training mission, killing three soldiers and injuring another. The military has yet to determine the cause of the incident, but investigators were expected to arrive at the crash site on Saturday.
Nine Army soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were also killed in a separate training accident in Kentucky last month. During a nighttime mission, two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters collided mid-air while flying in formation, leaving no survivors.
Another helicopter sinking took place in Alaska last February, also involving an Apache gunship, which left soldiers injured and aircraft damaged, but no fatalities.
Although the fatal crashes are still being investigated, the military said “there is no indication of any pattern between the two misadventures.”
To avoid incidents in the future, active duty troops are expected to receive new safety training between May 1 and May 5, while National Guard and Reserve members will have until May 31 to complete the course, according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Terence Kelley.
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