Rolla, Mo., soldier 1 of 9 killed in crash involving Black Hawk helicopters
ROLLA, Mo. (KY3) - The U.S. Army identified a Rolla soldier as one of the nine victims killed in a crash involving two Black Hawk helicopters in Kentucky.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, died in the crash. He served in the 101st Airborne Division. The helicopters crashed just after 10 p.m. on Wednesday in Cadiz, said Col. John Lubas, a deputy commanding officer for operations at Fort Campbell’s 101st Airborne Division. All nine crew members, four soldiers in one helicopter and five in the other, died in the crash.
“This is a time of great sadness for the 101st Airborne Division. The loss of these soldiers will reverberate through our formations for years to come,” said Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell. “Now is the time for grieving and healing. The whole division and this community stand behind the families and friends of our fallen soldiers.”
• Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, of Milton, Florida
• Cpl. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, of Austin, Texas
• Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36, of Jackson, Missouri
• Sgt. Isaacjohn Gayo, 27, of Los Angeles, California
• Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Gore, 25, of Morehead City, North Carolina
• Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy, 32, of Cape Coral, Florida
• Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, 30, of Mountain Brook, Alabama
• Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, of Rolla, Missouri
• Sgt. David Solinas Jr, 23, of Oradell, New Jersey
An Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Ala., is thoroughly investigating the accident.
The following pages contain the service records and photos of the nine Soldiers.
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