Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Apache Junction was among five U.S. Army soldiers who died Nov. 10 when their helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Department of Defense announced Monday the deaths of the Special Operations aviation soldiers, saying it occurred during routine flight training.
“There are no indications the crash was caused by enemy/hostile actions,” a DOD release stated.
The MH-60 Blackhawk was conducting aerial refueling training “when the aircraft experienced an in-flight emergency resulting in the crash,” according to the release.
Apache Junction Mayor Chip Wilson issued a statement:
“On behalf of our city council, the city of Apache Junction sends its condolences to the family of Sgt. Andrew Southard, who we have been informed, was one of the five servicepeople killed this weekend in a training exercise over the Mediterranean Sea and who is from our community, having attended Cactus Canyon Junior High and Apache Junction High School. Our thoughts are with the Southard family at this difficult time.”
The others who died in the crash were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38, of Clarksville, Tenn.; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26, of Gorham, N.H.; and Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24, of Mankato, Minn.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the fallen. The U.S. Army's Combat Readiness Center is conducting an investigation into the incident,” the DOD release concluded.