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Army releases names of aviators killed in South Korea crash

The Army on Sunday night released the names of the two aviators killed when their AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed in South Korea.

The incident happened about 6:30 p.m. local time on Nov. 23 during a routine training mission. The helicopter crashed about 50 miles east of Camp Humphreys.

It would be the first of three deadly Army helicopter crashes in 10 days, prompting U.S. Army Forces Command to ground all of its aircraft for a safety stand down. The stand down began Thursday and will end Monday evening.

The two aviators were assigned to 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

They were:

• Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jason McCormack, 43.

McCormack enlisted in the Army in 1995 and was selected to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School in 2003. After training and qualifying as an Apache pilot, McCormack served in the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

CW4 Jason McCormack

Photo Credit: Army

He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2008 and 2011.

He was assigned to 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion in 2015; he served as the aviation standardization officer.

His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with award numeral eight, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with six oak leaf clusters, the Combat Action Badge, and the Senior Aviation Badge.

A native of Maryland, McCormack is survived by his wife and his parents.

• Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Smith, 38.

Smith enlisted in the Army in 1996. He attended Warrant Officer Candidate School in 2006.

After training and qualifying as an Apache pilot, Smith was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado.

CW3 Brandon Smith

Photo Credit: Army

He deployed to Kosovo in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2012.

Smith was assigned to 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion in 2013, where he served as an instructor pilot.

His awards and decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Multinational Force and Observers Medals, the Air Assault Badge, the Army Aviation Badge, the Combat Action Badge and the Drill Sergeant Badge.

Smith, of Grand Junction, Colorado, is survived by his parents and his former wife.

"Losing a soldier is heartbreaking," Col. Hank Taylor, commander of the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, said in a statement. "Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jason McCormack and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Smith will be missed by friends and fellow soldiers in the battalion and the Talon Brigade. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends, and we will never forget these fine soldiers. This accident underscores the inherent danger of our chosen profession."

Eight aviators have died in three separate helicopter crashes since Nov. 23.

On the same day as the Apache crash, a UH-60 Black Hawk crashed at Fort Hood, Texas. Four soldiers died in that incident. The crew was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, First Army Division West.

Two more aviators were killed Dec. 2 when their Apache crashed during a training exercise near Fort Campbell. The soldiers were assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade's 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment.

All three incidents are still under investigation.

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