Helicopter crash in Arizona kills seven U.S. marines

posted at 10:25 am on February 23, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Seven marines died last night when their two helicopters collided in a training exercise near Yuma, Ariz., Pentagon officials announced today. The identity of the seven won’t be revealed until next-of-kin have been notified, but they were from the 3rd Marine Airwing based at Miramar in Southern California. There were no survivors of the crash. USA Today has a few more details about the training base in Arizona and the precise location of the accident:

The base website says the base includes approximately 4,000 active duty Marines and sailors. “With access to 2.8 million acres of bombing and aviation training ranges and superb flying weather, MCAS Yuma supports 80 percent of the Corps’ air-to-ground aviation training.” CNN, citing a Marine Corps official, says the aircraft involved were a UH-1 and a AH-1W. …

A military official says the military helicopters crashed in the Chocolate Mountains in southeast California, the Associated Press reports. …

The aircraft collided in a remote portion of the Yuma Training Range Complex. “We’re still gathering a lot of details as the sun comes up,” Lt. Maureen Dooley with the Miramar Air Base in California tells CNN.

Of the four GOP candidates, all of whom were in Arizona last night for the final debate of the primary season, Mitt Romney was the first (and, so far, the only) candidate to respond to the tragedy.

“My heart goes out to the victims and their families of today’s tragic helicopter collision here in Arizona,” Romney said in a release. “Those who serve in our armed forces take risks and face dangers both on and off the battlefield. For defending our country, for volunteering to put themselves in harm’s way, the men and women of our military deserve our most solemn gratitude.”

Echoing Romney, my thoughts and prayers go out to the Marines and their families. What a heartbreaking loss.


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Tis a dangerous business, God speed!

dmann on February 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Tina, just for reference…”heartache” is usually snark on this website. Might be taken the wrong way.

MadisonConservative on February 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM

God Speed. RIP and thank you for your service.

gophergirl on February 23, 2012 at 10:32 AM

G-d bless and keep the souls of those who perished and their loved ones.

Rixon on February 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Semper Fi and God’s Speed my brother/sister Marines…

major dad on February 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Semper Fi, Marines. Your mission is done.

upinak on February 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM

My husband served in the USMC with a Helo squardron.
do we know what unit this was?
He was out of Tustin-which is now closed-but I don’t know where his old unit is now stationed.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 23, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Seems like an awful lot of copters are going down. Something’s going on. And it seems like it’s always the Marines.

I’d be checking the business cards of the maintenance crews. (soldiers of allah ??)

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Horrible. Heart-breaking. May their families find some small comfort in their heroic willingness to serve their country.

Rational Thought on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

His unit was HMH-465 *Heavy Haulers*
Semper Fi, Marines.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM

“My heart goes out to the victims and their families of today’s tragic helicopter collision here in Arizona,” Romney said in a release. “Those who serve in our armed forces take risks and face dangers both on and off the battlefield. For defending our country, for volunteering to put themselves in harm’s way, the men and women of our military deserve our most solemn gratitude.”

Well said Governor, my sentiments exactly.

Flora Duh on February 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Seems like an awful lot of copters are going down. Something’s going on. And it seems like it’s always the Marines.

I’d be checking the business cards of the maintenance crews. (soldiers of allah ??)

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Read the story. Two helicopters collided. That’d be quite a feat for a mechanic to pull off. And the wars we’re fighting are in desert areas. Lots more wear and tear in those regions than normal conditions across most of our own country.

Kelligan on February 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM

R.I.P. Marine heroes.

FireBlogger on February 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM

No greater love. They paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and my prayers are for their fellow Marines and of course their families.

Rufus on February 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

God bless these Marines, their children, spouses, and other family members. This is a tragedy that this happened but underscores the risk inherent to Marine Corps exercises.

From the halls of Montezuma….

ted c on February 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Rotary winged is an art form on good days, never mind a night in the mountains, that’s Zen.

dmann on February 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Damn.

(btw, mentioning Romney, or any pol, was an insult to those men)

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Just for the heck of it, you might put up a picture of the correct aircraft. – Or did you just blindly pull out a file photo. I doubt is you could get seven marines in the one shown. sarc/

Old Country Boy on February 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Amazing Grace dedicated to US Marines.

ted c on February 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Just for the heck of it, you might put up a picture of the correct aircraft. – Or did you just blindly pull out a file photo. I doubt is you could get seven marines in the one shown. sarc/

Old Country Boy on February 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

word is that it was both an AH1 cobra (shown) and a UH1 Huey (not shown)

ted c on February 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

a cobra holds 1-2, and a Huey will hold the remaining 5

ted c on February 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

I’ve spent a lot of time here throwing stuff at Mitt, but as a retired Chief Petty Officer, he done good this time.

And no, it’s not an insult to those men to mention a politician. As a voter and one who served, I want to know as much as I can about the fitness of a candidate to serve as Commander in Chief. Mitt gets a check in my plus column on that one.

Ed Snyder on February 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Semper Fi! R.I.P.

TugboatPhil on February 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM

This is dreadful news. May God rest them all.

Scriptor on February 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Stenwin, it sounds like they collided. As a former Marine flight officer I can tell you that besides looking at the a$$ end of a carrier, night flights on goggles in a low altitude regime is as dangerous as it gets outside of combat. That being said, I never forgot the words my uncle told me the day he pinned on my wings, every timed I strapped on that Martin-Baker… “lowest bidder.”

Roc on February 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Well said Governor, my sentiments exactly.

Flora Duh on February 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Really? Your going to use this as a political opportunity? You suck.

Socmodfiscon on February 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM

: (

Bmore on February 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM

RIP Marines
The Few. The Proud. The Marines. Semper Fidelis; Always Faithful

May the good Lord welcome them home!

D-fusit on February 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM

the former CG at Ft Irwin warned incoming aviators that “this desert will reach up and grab you, so be careful” as a means to get them to practice extra precautions, particularly while night flying.

ted c on February 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM

RIP! God be with your families!

KOOLAID2 on February 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Really? Your going to use this as a political opportunity? You suck.

Socmodfiscon on February 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM

I don’t wish to hijack this thread since it is devoted to the memory of those killed, but would you please explain what you mean?

Flora Duh on February 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

RIP, shipmates.

NavyMustang on February 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

No.

Dack Thrombosis on February 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

RIP, Marines!

SouthernGent on February 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Really? Your going to use this as a political opportunity? You suck.

Socmodfiscon on February 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM

I don’t wish to hijack this thread since it is devoted to the memory of those killed, but would you please explain what you mean?

Flora Duh on February 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Never mind, I think I know what you meant. I am not a Romney supporter, as most here can tell you, so I was not trying to “use this as a political opportunity”. I was merely commenting that Governor Romney stated my sentiments as I would.

Seems to me that you’re the one who resorted to “use this as a political opportunity”. But since this is a thread dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives in service to their country, I’ll refrain from anymore comments about it.

Flora Duh on February 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Seems like an awful lot of copters are going down. Something’s going on. And it seems like it’s always the Marines.

I’d be checking the business cards of the maintenance crews. (soldiers of allah ??)

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

A/C mishaps occur fairly frequently and are expected–no matter how you slice it, its a dangerous business. These airframes are old old–that’s a factor. The conditions–nighttime flying, is a factor. The terrain, desert–is a factor. The aircrew themselves are always a factor. So is maintenance. I’m sure hawkdriver can speak to these issues much more fluently than I, but there is a fullup investigation after each of these. A flight surgeon has to secure the pilots and do a post-mortem–check for drugs, medical issues. Maintenance will check the wreckage for potential causes. They’ll listen in to the radio transmissions prior to the incident to see if it was an inadvertent move into the other guys rotor disk (it can happen). Lotsa moving parts.

ted c on February 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

RIP Marines
The Few. The Proud. The Marines. Semper Fidelis; Always Faithful

May the good Lord welcome them home!

D-fusit on February 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Well said.

scalleywag on February 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

“Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”~Ronald Reagan..

They kept the faith, Semper Fi Marines.. God be with your families always.

mark81150 on February 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Damn it! Semper Fi.

2ndMAW68 on February 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Yet another sad reminder that not all of our military members die in combat or even in theater.

Semper Fi.

Del Dolemonte on February 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM

They were probably on goggles, things like this happen. They will do the usual investigation i.e. do a tox on the remains, check the maintenance records assign a team to do it all. Sad…BTW annoyinglittletwerp, HMH 465 is based in Miramar now, I was with HMH 466 for a long time back when it was in Tustin. This was an HMLA out of Camp Pendleton.

major dad on February 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Rest in peace, brothers. My heart goes out to their loved ones.

Just yesterday, my father said how he’s seen so many local Marines die in stateside car accidents and chopper incidents over the last 6 decades that it’s difficult to fathom. So many. I often think the same thing. Especially when someone comments on a perceived uptick in chopper incidents. There is no making sense of it.

tuffy on February 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM

I was in a bar in Texas,.. assigned to Lackland AFB for advanced airbase ground defense training. I was never a big guy 5’8″, 170lbs.. I wasn’t expecting trouble, went back to the restroom.. when three locals, big boys followed me back..

I have never backed down from a scrap.. but they had me backed into a corner, and my only plan at that point, was to make it expensive for their “fun”..

I heard a huge bang behind me,.. as the door came slamming open, and in walked the a very large, very angry 50 something gentleman, who walked up, and stood next to me. He told those yokels exactly his opinion of cowards who jump an outnumbered serviceman in a bathroom for fun.

They started to look scared.. and when he stomped forward two steps..

They ran out the door..

I thanked him for having my back, a stranger to him.. and he said,.. “it’s alright son, a Marine never abandons his comrades,. and I hate bullies”…

I have never forgotten, and while service rivalries can sometimes flare.. when I think of a Marine, I think of that retired Gunny, who stepped up for me when he didn’t have to…

I’ve never met another Marine for whom I could return the favor, but I learned from hi example, and always, always tried hard to go that extra step to help out another serviceman or woman, what ever their branch.

Marines hold a special place,.. they’ve earned that.

mark81150 on February 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Dammit, I know folks over there (Pendelton) several who ARE in helo training or assigned to helos.

I pray to G-d it’s not one of my buddies from my college days in the Corps of Cadets. Already attended one funeral for that bunch and another for an enlisted Marine killed two years ago this month.

That’s 2 too many in my book. Time to make the rounds on Facebook and hope everyone’s good.

SgtSVJones on February 23, 2012 at 12:09 PM

May God bless their souls, and may He comfort their families and friends.

AZCoyote on February 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM

(from the Marine Corp hymn…)

If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.

Stand your posts proudly, boys. Thanks for being there for us.

CurtZHP on February 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM

RIP Marines.

hawkdriver on February 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Tina – thank you for spelling “heartache” correctly, instead of Allahpundit’s stubborn “heart-ache” (which must be the product of his misguided atheism).

disa on February 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Because of mutiaircraft operations and the density of traffic in training areas and other areas of operations. it’s awful but mid-airs happen.

hawkdriver on February 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

:(

Seven Percent Solution on February 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Damn. RIP.

Multi-ship is tricky enough, let alone with two different airframes. It’s actually surprising stuff like this doesn’t happen more often. It still sucks, though, especially for the families.

BadgerHawk on February 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Read the story. Two helicopters collided. That’d be quite a feat for a mechanic to pull off. And the wars we’re fighting are in desert areas. Lots more wear and tear in those regions than normal conditions across most of our own country.

Kelligan on February 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM

My bad. No, I didn’t read it… it just makes me sick.

Guess my theory is NG.

It is so sad when we lose our men and women this way.

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Just for the heck of it, you might put up a picture of the correct aircraft. … sarc/

Old Country Boy on February 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

If I’m not mistaken, the photo is an AH-1 Apache, one of the mentioned aircraft. The other aircraft would be the UH-1 which could easily carry the balance of personnel involved.

[btw, I did notice your sarc tag, but didn't understand what your sarcasm was. Sorry if I'm being dense.]

Regardless, I grieve for the loss.

freedomfirst on February 23, 2012 at 1:40 PM

My bad Cobra, not Apache.

freedomfirst on February 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM

A Army Helicopter Pilot in the Viet Nam War once told me that a Helicopter was a collection of spare parts flying more or less in formation. From my much more limited perspective, perhaps a dozen Helicopter rides in two tours in country Viet Nam, I don’t think that his statement is that unreasonable of an exaggeration.

Still, it is part of the job description. Note, I am retired military and honor their memory.

Linh_My on February 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Linh_My on February 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

An airplane is basically a giant wing, so as long as it has thrust it wants to fly. A helicopter only flies because numerous forces all oppose each other just right.

BadgerHawk on February 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Flights of angels sing them to their rest. John 15:13.

J.E. Dyer on February 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

As the proud mother of a Staff Sgt. serving at Camp Pendleton I feel like 7 members of my family died. You prepare yourself that the worst could happen when they are deployed but to lose them in training just makes my heart hurt. God bless them and their families.

oregano on February 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

mark81150 on February 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Great story Mark, thanks for sharing. In the end, we are all on the same team! Semper Fidelis.

This is my old stomping ground (or at least one of them…).

A tragic loss for the families, unit and the Corps. No matter the explanation or cause, there will be little said or done that can assuage the pain for the families. Always tough to lose a Marine, let alone 7 all at once, and in a training mission. It happens, and we press on, but it is a sad day. The entire Corps mourns. My heart goes out to the families. The kind words and condolences from caring patriots is much appreciated.

Hueydriver on February 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

BadgerHawk on February 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Helicopters don’t really fly. They just beat the air into submission.

RIP, Marines.

Solaratov on February 23, 2012 at 3:05 PM

From riding as passenger in 60′s, 47′s, etc flying through the mountains here in AFG as badgerhawk and Hawkdriver have stated it is it only to the CREDIT of the pilots that more of these accidents do not happen. God bless these Marines and their families!

From a fellow sailor!

g2825m on February 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Semper Fi fellow Marines. RIP

rjulio on February 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Seems like an awful lot of copters are going down. Something’s going on. And it seems like it’s always the Marines.

I’d be checking the business cards of the maintenance crews. (soldiers of allah ??)

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

No, just another training accident. When you train like you fight, sadly stuff happens and Marines train aggressively.

Fair skies and following seas, comrades.

El Coqui on February 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
George S. Patton

VengeanceIsMine on February 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Ned Dolan said:

Freedom isn’t free. But the United States Marine Corps will pay most of your share.

RIP, Marines.

rwenger43 on February 23, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Seems like an awful lot of copters are going down. Something’s going on. And it seems like it’s always the Marines.

I’d be checking the business cards of the maintenance crews. (soldiers of allah ??)

Does it seem that way to anyone else?

stenwin77 on February 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

No, just another training accident. When you train like you fight, sadly stuff happens and Marines train aggressively.

Fair skies and following seas, comrades.

After 8 years 11 months active duty USN including 1 westPac and two tours in country Viet Nam, after a 12 year delay, I joined the Army National Guard. On my first “summer camp” we lost 19 Soldiers in two weeks. 17 of them were in a helicopter. We all train hard and do our share. We all feel sorry for the families. We chose our jobs.

retired
19k30 ARNG

Linh_My on February 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM

BadgerHawk on February 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Can you diagram that aerodynamic explanation, troop?

hawkdriver on February 23, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Dammit…

MooCow always has a pucker factor when crap like this happens. MooCow was an FMF Corpsman out of Pendleton back in the day, and has a NAM for saving a Marines life. It always makes MooCow cringe like a whipped dog when he hears of his beloved Marines going down like this…

Semper, Marines…

Your watch has ended here on Earth. You will now commence duty with the Eternal Watch at the Pearly Gates. Say hello to all our fallen comrades for us, and pray we dont mess things up too badly down here.

MooCow…out.

MooCowBang on February 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Has Oblamatron done his shout-outs yet, so he can fake give-a-sh!t about fallen Marines, same as he fake gave-a-sh!t for those fallen soldiers who got shot up by that mooslim piece of…sigh…

MooCow better stop now, MooCow is getting too riled up with this thread.

Sigh…MooCow…out.

MooCowBang on February 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Hawkdriver,
When it gets to that part of the stands ride I usually just credit awesome piloting with making the thing fly.

BadgerHawk on February 23, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Hawkdriver,
When it gets to that part of the stands ride I usually just credit awesome piloting with making the thing fly.

BadgerHawk on February 23, 2012 at 8:10 PM

:-)

hawkdriver on February 23, 2012 at 10:30 PM

We can’t help but feel the sorrow and misery. Our country lost seven men. Their friends and families lost seven blessings in their lives.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2012 at 9:43 PM