The Army has suspended its search for five soldiers missing since their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the ocean off Hawaii last week.
After five days, “operations have now shifted to recovery and salvage efforts,” Army officials said in a news release issued Monday. The missing were identified as:
1st Lt. Kathryn M. Bailey, 26, of Hope Mills, North Carolina. She is an aviation officer.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian M. Woeber, 41, of Decatur, Alabama. He is a pilot.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen T. Cantrell, 32, of Wichita Falls, Texas. He is a pilot.
Staff Sgt. Abigail R. Milam, 33, of Jenkins, Kentucky. She is a helicopter crew chief.
Sgt. Michael L. Nelson, 30, of Antioch, Tennessee. He is a helicopter crew chief.
Woeber, Cantrell and Nelson each had made combat deployments, the Army said.
All five soldiers are members of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Wheeler Army Airfield in Oahu. The Army has designated them “duty status: whereabouts unknown.”
The incident occurred August 15 as two Black Hawk helicopters conducted a nighttime training mission between Kaena Point and Dillingham Airfield, a few miles to the east.
A massive search effort ensued, with rescuers initially focused on an area two miles off Oahu’s northwest tip. They later expanded their search out to 50 miles, citing the powerful ocean currents.
Coast Guard and Navy vessels continue to assist with the salvage effort. Army officials say the incident is under investigation.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Andrew Degrandpre