FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (WKRN) — The Clarksville community and beyond are mourning the five service members from the Fort Campbell-based 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) who lost their lives when a military aircraft crashed into the eastern Mediterranean Sea Friday evening.
According to the U.S. European Command (EUCOM), the aircraft “suffered a mishap” during a routine air refueling mission that was part of military training. The aircraft crashed into the sea off the coast of Cyprus, killing all five service members on board.
The five service members killed in the crash have been identified as:
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38 of Clarksville, Tennessee
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, California
- Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26, of Gorham, New Hampshire
- Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Apache Junction, Arizona
- Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24, of Mankato, Minnesota.
Officials said the fallen soldiers came from rare, patriotic families with deep military service ties spanning multiple generations and formations.
Retired Fort Campbell Army veteran and state Rep. Ronnie Glynn (D-Montgomery) told News 2 the whole community is mourning the soldiers, including those who never met them.
“We are a community that when you wear the uniform, we’re all the same, no matter the color of our skin, our backgrounds, anything, we wear the same uniform. So when something like this happens, it affects us all,” Glynn said. “You do not have to know individuals personally to know that it hurts deeply, and it affects us all.”
The tragic crash came just months after nine Fort Campbell soldiers died in Kentucky when their two Black Hawk helicopters collided back in March.
“Unfortunately, we shake our head and say, ‘Not again.’ We don’t want to go through this again,” Glynn said.
When news broke of Friday’s Black Hawk crash, Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden said he reached out to the garrison commander of Fort Campbell to offer condolences and help for the families impacted.
“Our soldiers and their families, they’re intertwined with everything of who we are as a community, so when a loss is experienced over there, it’s experienced across our whole community,” Golden said. “Their kids are in our schools, their spouses work at our businesses, and it’s a horrible time right now.”
The Night Stalker Foundation, a nonprofit that supports families and unit members of the 160th SOAR(A) is collecting donations. To make a donation, click here.
To donate services, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, but officials said there is no sign it was caused by any hostilities.