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Minnesota National Guard Identifies Three Soldiers Killed

Updated: December 07, 2019 10:51 PM

The Minnesota National Guard identified the three soldiers killed in the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 as: 

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- Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., age 28 

- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, age 30 

- Sergeant. Kort M. Plantenberg, age 28

The Minnesota National Guard says that all three soldiers were assigned to Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion, based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. According to the Guard, all three soldiers returned from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in May 2019, where they conducted medical evacuations in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve. 

“To the families of these three soldiers, there's nothing that I can say that will take away or lessen the pain you are feeling. What I can tell you is that you are not alone. We stand with you as you navigate this new reality,” Major Jon A. Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard said at a press conference on Saturday.

Since the soldiers' tragic deaths, flags across the state have flown half-staff and the public has learned more about them.

Rodgers was born in Madelia, Minnesota and graduated from St. James High School. In 2013, he became a Warrant Officer as a UH-60 Black Hawk Pilot.

Nord was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota and graduated from Perham High School. In 2016, he became a Warrant Officer as a UH-60 Black Hawk Aeromedical Evacuation pilot. He leaves behind his wife Kaley, their two-year-old daughter Lydia and their expected child on the way.

Plantenberg was born in St Cloud, Minnesota and graduated from Albany area high school. In 2018, he competed in the Chief National Guard Biathlon Championships. He was recently hired as a Technician Mechanic at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 and was preparing to begin the state warrant officer program and flight school.

"This unit falls underneath the 34th expeditionary combat aviation brigade which is currently deployed in Forthood Texas. Two members of the command team have flown up to be with the unit to ensure that we send that message that the chain of command is here to support the whole unit," Major Jensen said.

The cause of the accident remains unknown, but an investigation is underway.

“The goal of the safety investigation is really to determine what happened so that we don't have the same misfortune again,” Colonel Shawn Manke, Commander of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade said.

This marks the Minnesota Guard's first catastrophic helicopter crash since 1993 and they are making bishops, councilors and other resources available to the families and comrades of the three soldiers.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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