Kentucky’s helicopter crash is far from Fort Campbell’s first. How common are they?

Nine U.S. military members died late Wednesday in a crash involving two military helicopters in Kentucky, officials said.

The crash, which involved two HH60 Black Hawk helicopters performing a routine training mission out of Fort Campbell, occurred in Trigg County at roughly 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to military officials. Brig. Gen. John Lucas, deputy commander for the 101st Airborne Division, said there were no signals of distress prior to the crash.

As of Thursday afternoon, the victims had not been publicly identified.

Wednesday’s crash is far from the first fatal collision to come out of Fort Campbell. Here’s a brief overview of the installation’s past incidents.

17 dead in 1988 crash

Seventeen U.S. Army officers and soldiers died following the collision of two Black Hawk helicopters during a nighttime training mission out of Fort Campbell March 8, 1998.

According to The Washington Post’s archive, the first helicopter in a line of three Black Hawks, believed to have been carrying 13 people, slammed into another carrying four while navigating toward a fixed point. At the time, Army helicopter pilots told the newspaper such a maneuver is routine by daylight, but riskier at night.

Army officials said there was no indication of a mechanical malfunction in the collision.

At the time, the 1988 Fort Campbell crash was the Army’s worst aviation disaster since December 1985, when nearly 250 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were killed when a chartered passenger plane crashed at Gander, Newfoundland.

Two crashes in 1996

A pair of fatal helicopter collisions out of Fort Campbell captured headlines in 1996.

The first crash occurred March 7 when five soldiers out of Fort Campbell were killed when an MH-47E Chinook helicopter crashed on a training mission, The New York Times reported. Shortly after the crash, Army officials released a report blaming the crash on the error of a pilot who was not familiar with the craft’s instrument display.

The pilot “became disoriented during the turn and inadvertently placed the aircraft into an unusual attitude” that neither he nor the instructor pilot could recover from, the Times reported.

Another crash occurred when two Army transport helicopters collided June 19, 1996. The collision transpired just before soldiers aboard were set to carry out a mock rescue of others who pretended to be injured on the ground below.

Army officials said the incident occurred when the two helicopters’ main rotor blades hit each other. As they fell from treetop level, the two crafts narrowly avoided crashing directly onto the area where soldiers were staged for the mock rescue mission, though some soldiers and civilians were still injured.

Six people were killed in the collision, and at least 30 more were injured, the Times reported.

Seven dead in 1999 wreck

Another fatal crash thrust Fort Campbell into the national spotlight in 1999.

A Black Hawk helicopter with 11 people aboard crashed during a training mission April 22, 1999, according to the CBS News archives. The wreck killed seven people and injured four more, putting two in critical condition shortly after the incident.

Three of the dead soldiers were from A Company, 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, while the four others hailed from Pathfinder Company.

The crash occurred in a nearby wooded area during a routine training mission, reports at the time said. The soldiers were practicing getting either on or off the craft when it crashed.

Smaller crashes in the 2010s

Though incidents at Fort Campbell quieted down for nearly a decade and a half after the incident in 1999, a series of crashes smaller in scope occurred in the mid-2010s.

A crash Dec. 2, 2015, killed two pilots during a training exercise out of Fort Campbell. Detailed reporting from the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle found improperly installed equipment prompted the crash, which downed the helicopter roughly 12 miles south of the installation.

Four soldiers out of Fort Campbell were injured Jan. 31, 2017, when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed and caught fire during a training exercise, the Leaf-Chronicle reported.

Two soldiers died in an AH-64E Apache helicopter crash during a training exercise at Fort Campbell April 6, 2018, Reuters reported. Both soldiers were from the 101st Airborne Division.

What to know about Fort Campbell. Kentucky military base is home to rare air assault unit

About Fort Campbell

Fort Campbell serves as a major maneuver installation for the Army. It is located along the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Christian and Tigg counties, as well as Tennessee’s Montgomery and Stewart counties. Most of the base is located in Tennessee.

Originally established in 1942 to serve as an armor training center and mobilization camp during World War II, Fort Campbell has an active military population of more than 27,000 as of 2021, the military said. It was named after William Brown Campbell, the former Tennessee governor who served as a Union general in the American Civil War.

The post supports more than 250,000 people, including family members, civilians and retired service members, though more than half of the installation’s assigned soldiers live off-post.

Today, Fort Campbell is home to several major military divisions, including the 101st Airborne Division, the Army’s only air assault division. It has called the installation home since 1956 and works to provide “forcible entry and other worldwide unified land operations” through the air, according to the division’s website.

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