BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho National Guard released the names of the three soldiers killed Tuesday night after their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a routine training flight.
The Soldiers were Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jesse Anderson, 43; Chief Warrant Officer 3 George “Geoff” Laubhan, 39; and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Peltzer, 43.
Anderson, a Nampa resident, was a senior instructor pilot and had served in the Idaho Army National Guard since 2008. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Laubhan, a Boise resident, was an instructor pilot and had served in the Idaho Army National Guard since 2010. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Peltzer, a Nampa resident, was a pilot and had served in the Idaho Army National Guard since 2005. He is survived by his wife and two children.
“The sudden and tragic loss of three of our fellow Guardsmen is extremely heartbreaking to every member of our Idaho National Guard family,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho and commander of the Idaho National Guard. “I have received numerous messages of condolence from many people here in Idaho and throughout the nation, and all of your thoughts, prayers, and support are sincerely appreciated and much needed. It is very comforting, at such a challenging time, to have the care and support of so many.”
A news release from the Idaho National Guard says there was no other personnel on board.
The helicopter was last contacted at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday and the Emergency Locator Transmitter device was activated just after 8 p.m. Col. Christopher Burt, the Idaho Army National Guard's state aviation officer, and his team immediately started emergency aircraft recovery procedures, which include air and ground search and rescue crews.
The helicopter and personnel were found at around 12:15 Wednesday morning, using snowmobiles. During their last contact at around 7:45 p.m., the pilots indicated they were wrapping up their training and heading back to Boise.
Gov. Brad Little has ordered all flags be flown at half-staff in their honor. The directive is in place until the day after the final memorial service.
The cause of the accident is not known at this time, but an investigation is underway. The Idaho National Guard will provide updates as information becomes available.
This story was first published by Katie Kloppenburg at KIVI in Boise, Idaho.