Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Thoughts and Prayers

are with the friends and families of 1st Lt. Shields, CWO Leach, the South Carolina Air National Guardsmen from McEntire and their comrades.

Two S.C. soldiers killed in Iraq helicopter crash
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Two South Carolina Army National Guardsmen were killed in a helicopter accident at an air base in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, officials said Friday.

First Lt. Andrew C. Shields of Campobello and Chief Warrant Officer Patrick D. Leach of Rock Hill died in the crash, according to a statement by South Carolina Adjutant General Stan Spears.

The soldiers were based at McEntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover. Shields had served with the Guard for five years, while Leach had served 18 years, Spears said.

The accident injured four others, the military in Baghdad said Friday.

The crash occurred when an AH-64 Apache helicopter hit a UH-60 Black Hawk that was on the ground, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Hastings said. The accident is under investigation and the cause had not been determined, he said.

The four injured soldiers have returned to duty. They and the two soldiers who died were all from Task Force Olympia, whose headquarters are in Mosul.

The Apache is a heavily armed gunship with two crewmembers. The Black Hawk is a transport helicopter that has two pilots and can carry up to 20 passengers.


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