For Soldier Killed in Alaska Crash, ‘Household Was All the pieces’

JUNEAU, Alaska — The mom of one of many three troopers killed final week when two U.S. Army helicopters collided in a distant a part of Alaska mentioned her son beloved his nation and his household and lifted others up.

“Household was every little thing to him,” Stacie Weaver informed The Related Press Monday of her son, Warrant Officer 1 Stewart Duane Wayment, of North Logan, Utah, who leaves behind a spouse, Kiara, and three younger youngsters.

Wayment had a optimistic outlook and cared about others, Weaver mentioned. He loved the outside and was excited to be stationed in Alaska, to fly over rugged landscapes and see the northern lights and wildlife.

Two helicopters from the first Assault Battalion, twenty fifth Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright, close to Fairbanks, collided Thursday about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Healy after they had been getting back from coaching, the Army has mentioned. Healy is about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Fairbanks.

An investigative staff from Fort Novosel, Alabama, arrived in Alaska over the weekend and flew to the crash web site Monday, mentioned John Pennell, a U.S. Army Alaska spokesperson.

The Army has recognized the troopers who died as Wayment, 32; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Robert Eramo, 39, of Oneonta, New York; and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle D. McKenna, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. A fourth soldier was injured. That soldier’s identify has not been launched.

Pennell has mentioned that there have been “no climate or visible constraints identified of on the time of the collision.”

The Army on Friday grounded aviation items for coaching after the crash, which occurred a month after 9 troopers had been killed when two Army Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters crashed throughout a nighttime coaching train in Kentucky.

Units are grounded till they full the coaching, Lt. Col. Terence Kelley, an Army spokesperson has mentioned. For active-duty items, the coaching is to happen this week, between Monday and Friday. Army Nationwide Guard and Reserve items can have till Might 31 to finish the coaching.

A commander on the degree of a two-star normal can authorize an exception, he mentioned.

“The security of our aviators is our high precedence, and this stand down is a vital step to make sure we’re doing every little thing doable to stop accidents and defend our personnel,” Army Chief of Employees James McConville mentioned of the choice to floor flight items for coaching.

New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday despatched a letter to U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin requesting a evaluate of helicopter crashes inside all navy branches that had been deadly or that concerned the lack of plane. She requested info on such accidents inside the final 5 years.

She cited a 2021 New York Army Nationwide Guard crash that killed three troopers throughout coaching. “Since then, we’ve got solely misplaced extra service members to catastrophic incidents involving rotary wing plane,” she wrote.

The Army on Friday mentioned that whereas each the Alaska and Kentucky crashes are beneath investigation, “there isn’t a indication of any sample between the 2 mishaps.”

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