The Army has identified two 4th Infantry Division soldiers who were killed when their helicopter crashed during training Saturday morning at Fort Irwin, California.
First Lt. Clayton Cullen and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Burke were at the National Training Center when their AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed, according to a Fort Carson news release.
Both soldiers were assigned to the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.
“These gentlemen exemplified all the attributes we expect from our very best leaders. They were selfless, mission focused, and committed to their teammates,” Col. Scott Gallaway, the brigade commander, said in the news release. “Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to Clayton’s and Kevin’s families. These two young leaders left an indelible mark on the entire Iron Eagle team. We will forever be better soldiers, and a more combat-ready aviation brigade, due to their leadership.”
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Cullen, 25, joined the Army in April 2015 and had been assigned to the 4th Infantry Division since September 2017, according to Fort Carson.
His awards include the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Burke, 28, joined the Army in 2007 and had been assigned to the 4th Infantry Division since February 2010. He deployed twice to Iraq, once from March 2008 to March 2009 and a second time from June 2010 to June 2011.
His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
The soldiers’ designated survivors will still receive the $100,000 death gratuity, although the government shutdown happened before the crash.
Defense Department guidance says the death gratuity “may not be paid” during the shutdown, but the Fisher House Foundation has stepped up to fill the gap and pay the death gratuity to those who are designated by the service member to receive it.
Fisher House officials have contacted DoD casualty officials to let them know they’re standing ready to help the families of these two soldiers as well as others, spokeswoman Kerri Childress said.
Senior reporter Karen Jowers contributed to this report.
Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.