Mexican state security chief is among the five dead in helicopter crash in Mexico
This undated photo provided by the U.S. military shows Brig. Gen. Hector Rafael Lopez.
The identities of the five slain soldiers were released Thursday by the U.S. military. In addition to the general, they were: Army Capt. David Robert Coker, Army 1st Lt. Michael Michael Kelly, Army Sgt. William Keith Davenport and Army Sgt. Jose Luis Gomez.
President Donald Trump said the military would have details within a week.
“Five brave Americans will not be mourned by their families tonight,” Trump said. “We will remember them as heroes.”
Lt. Gen. William Mayville, who leads the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, arrived in Mexico on Wednesday to review the investigation into the crash in Nuevo Laredo, Texas.
Mayville said he did not believe there were problems with the C-130 cargo plane on which the soldiers were killed.
“The pilot and navigator have been in this airplane for over 20 years, and I don’t believe they had any problems with it.”
The Army said in a statement that officers from the 4th ID were involved in more than 1,400 overseas deployments so far in 2019, including deployment to Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The four soldiers had all been attending the annual Army Ranger School graduation, a rite of passage that takes place two weeks before the college acceptance ceremony.
Army spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Eric Morstad said the four who died were scheduled to attend the graduation when the military issued the alert for bad weather Wednesday into Thursday. The students were supposed to complete their Ranger training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and would have been transported the same day.
Morstad also said the men’s families were scheduled to fly to Texas to watch the graduation on Friday.
Army officials said the aircraft was part of the Army’s C-130 strategic airlift aircraft, which carries up to 400 troops and hundreds of essential supplies in and out of remote areas of war-torn Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
This undated photo provided by the U.S. military shows Lt. Col. Christopher David Coker.