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Three soldiers who died in Army helicopter collision in Alaska are identified

Three soldiers were killed and a fourth was injured when two Apache helicopters collided in midair Thursday.
AH-64 Apache helicopter
An AH-64 Apache helicopter at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., on May 6, 2018.Capt. Katherine Zins / U.S. Army

The Army on Saturday released the names of three soldiers killed in a midair collision between two military helicopters over Alaska.

They were identified as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Robert Eramo, 39, of Oneonta, New York; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle D. McKenna, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Warrant Officer 1 Stewart Duane Wayment, 32, of North Logan, Utah.

"The battalion is devastated and mourning the loss of three of our best,” Lt. Col. Matthew C. Carlsen, commander of the Alaska-based 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation, said in a statement.

An additional soldier was injured and stabilized at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Army's 11th Airborne Division said in the statement.

The cause of Thursday's collision between two Apache attack helicopters near Healy was under investigation by a team from the Alabama-based Army Combat Readiness Center, the Army said.

The aircraft were returning from a training exercise when they collided, it said.

On Friday, Army Chief of Staff James McConville ordered all Army aviators except those on critical missions grounded for additional training.

"This stand down is an important step to make certain we are doing everything possible to prevent accidents and protect our personnel,” McConville said in a statement Friday.

On March 29, two Army Black Hawk helicopters involved in a training mission crashed near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, killing nine soldiers.