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Mississippi ANG AH-64 Crashes, Killing 2

Rash of Fatal Military Training Flights Continues in Worrying Turn

An AH-64 Apache on a routine training flight crashed near Booneville, Mississippi according to the National Guard there.

The incident took place at around 1400 hrs local time, not quite the inclement, dangerous night missions often associated with fatal Apache incidents. The type's mission to hug the ground has always been a factor in crashes since its introduction, but the incident only raises eyebrows in a time when every week brings fresh news of another training crash. 

Governor Tate Reeves issued a short statement recognizing the fallen, saying "Today at approximately 2pm, the Mississippi National Guard experienced an Apache AH-64 helicopter crash during a routine training flight in Prentiss County. Tragically, both Guardsmen on board did not survive. Safety crews are currently working the scene of the crash with local authorities." He followed with a call to join him and his wife Elee in "praying for the two Guardsmen and their families," adding "Mississippi will always be grateful for their service and we will never forget them."

The fallen were later identified as Chief Warrant Officer 4, Bryan Andrew Zemek, age 36, of 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment. He was working as an AH-64 Delta Apache Standardization Instructor Pilot. The second fatality was Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, age 42 of the 2nd Battalion, 151st Lakota Medical Evacuation unit. He was unfortunately acting as a Maintenance Test Pilot in the Mississippi National Guard at the time of the crash. 

"I want to extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of our fallen soldiers. We will always remember these dedicated Soldiers for their honorable service, and we grieve with the families during this tragic time. With a heavy heart, let us always remember it is through that bravery and courage of the men and women in our armed forces that we are able to retain the freedoms we hold dear. Today and every day, let us express our thanks and gratitude to those who have and continue to put on the uniform in defense of our state and nation."

FMI: www.ng.ms.gov

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