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Alaskans Mourned In Aftermath of Helicopter Crash
Four Alaska National Guard members among 12 killed in Iraq Incident


January 09, 2006
Monday PM

SitNews - The U.S. Department of Defense has announced today that all 12 people aboard an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter were killed when it went down near the Iraqi town of Tal Afar.

The fallen aircraft was part of a two-helicopter flight moving between bases in northern Iraq when communications were lost shortly before midnight on January 07, according to Multinational Force Iraq sources. The crashed helicopter was located around noon on Jan. 8. Flight records indicated that eight passengers and four crewmembers were aboard.

According to information provided by Governor Murkowski's office, four crewmembers of 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, Alaska Army National Guard, are among the dead. Their names have not been released pending next-of-kin notification.

Governor Murkowski was informed of the crash Sunday.   "Nancy and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of our Guard members lost in this crash. They have been in our family's prayers and I ask all Alaskans to join me in honoring their sacrifice during this difficult time," Murkowski said. "Our Alaska National Guard has been working with the families of the unit since they became aware of the incident Sunday morning."

Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita told reporters that Multinational Force Iraq officials confirmed eight U.S. military members and 4 civilian passengers were aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk which crashed in a remote area 12 kilometers east of Tal Afar, Iraq.

"They haven't ruled anything in or out as a possible cause," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said. "There have been, at least, preliminary indications that the weather wasn't great up there, but that's not been determined to be a cause." The incident is under investigation.

About 60 Guard members from the Alaska unit deployed in August 2005 for a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. More than half of the battalion is assigned to combat and combat support roles in Iraq.



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