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Spc. Jeremy Tomlin killed in Maryland Black Hawk crash

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The soldier who died at the site of an Army UH-60 Black Hawk crash in Leonardtown, Maryland Monday was a 22-year-old crew chief, officials announced Tuesday evening.

Spc. Jeremy Darrell Tomlin, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was pronounced dead on-site at the Breton Bay Golf Course and Country Club by a civilian first responder from St. Mary’s County, officials with the Army’s Military District of Washington said in a news release.

The two other crew members — the pilot and a company commander — remain at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, both in critical condition, officials said. The pilot was identified as Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Nicholas and the crew member as Capt. Terikazu Onoda, commander of 12th Aviation Battalion’s Charlie Company.

The Black Hawk, assigned to the unit and based out of Fort Belvoir in Maryland was one of three conducting a routine training mission Monday afternoon. It’s not yet clear what caused one of the Black Hawks to descend with enough force to crumple the aircraft. The two other helos were not involved in the incident, officials said, and the crew members within were uninjured.

Witnesses who spoke to local news outlets described watching the aircraft, used by the Army for troop and equipment transport, descend in circles before crashing into the golf course. The site, including scattered pieces of the aircraft, has now been fully secured, officials said.

The 12th Aviation Battalion, to which all three crew members were assigned, provides transportation and aviation support to various military and government agencies in the Washington, D.C. region.

The tragic incident is now under investigation by a team from the Army Combat Readiness Center out of Fort Rucker in Alabama, which arrived at the crash site just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Army is now asking any individuals who captured photos or videos of the crash or its aftermath to upload them to a secure site, linked here, to assist with the investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our soldiers, their families and friends,” said Col. Amanda Azubuike, director of public affairs, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, in a statement. “Our top priority is the health of our soldiers and ensuring that their family members are provided the support they need.”

She said the families of the soldiers involved in the crash had asked for privacy as the investigation continues.

This is the second major Black Hawk incident this year. On Jan. 31, four soldiers were injured, three critically, when a Black Hawk crashed and then caught fire during a training operation at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

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Military

Pentagon spent $457.7 million to train forces in this country with no results

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© AP Photo/ David Goldman

The Pentagon has spent almost half a billion dollars for the training of Afghan intelligence officers under a special program. However, no tangible results have been achieved, according to a report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

The SIGAR report noted that the Pentagon has spent $457.7 million, signing two contracts between 2010 and 2013 with two Afghan companies, Legacy Afghanistan R&D and Afghanistan Source Operations Management (ASOM).

A total of about 70 members of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) participated in the training exercise. However, as the commission stated, the exercises did not lead to noticeable results, and “significant parts” of ANDSF did not fulfill the minimum requirements for the completion of these exercises.

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US Navy calls off search for 3 US Marines missing in MV-22 Osprey crash

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© AP Photo/ Sarah Villegas

US Navy officials have called off the search for missing crewmen who were aboard a Navy Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that crashed into the sea off the eastern coast of Australia on Saturday. A rescue operation was launched for the three missing US Marines, after the Osprey aircraft in which they were traveling crashed into the ocean while attempting to land, according to Stripes.com.

In suspending the rescue operation on Sunday, the US Navy switched to a recovery effort, according to the US Marine’s Camp Butler in Japan, indicating that the missing Marines are not expected to be found alive. The base camp statement added that the missing soldier’s next of kin had been told of their deaths and that Australia’s defense forces were working with the US Navy to expand the recovery of wreckage and remains.

The MV-22 Osprey took off from the USS Bonhomme Richard, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, on Saturday to conduct routine operations when it crashed. The Bonhomme Richard’s rescue boats and aircraft immediately commenced search and rescue, and 23 out of the 26 Marines aboard were pulled from the water.

According to the Camp Butler statement, “Recovery and salvage operations can take several months to complete but can be extended based on several environmental factors,” cited by Stars and Stripes.

“The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation,” the statement added, noting that, “no additional information available at this time.”

Marise Payne, Australia’s Defense Minister, stated that the Saturday crash took place in Shoalwater Bay on the Queensland coast, some 500 miles north of Brisbane.

“I can confirm no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft,” Payne said, cited by Stripes.com.

A tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter, and, once airborne, pivots its wings to fly like an ordinary propellor airplane. The aircraft have been involved in several high-profile accidents in recent years.

A US Osprey crashed in a 2015 training exercise in Hawaii, killing two Marines. In December 2016, another Osprey crash near the US airbase on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa and five crew members were rescued safely. In January of this year, three US soldiers in Yemen were wounded following a “hard landing” by an Osprey.

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