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Army grounds some aircraft to review helicopter crashes

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Posted at 9:53 AM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 09:53:34-05

The U.S. Army on Thursday grounded aircraft for active duty aviators at 11 posts across the country following a series of deadly crashes in recent weeks.

According to a release from the U.S. Army Forces Command, the order “will permit Army aviation leaders specific time to review Army aviation-training procedures and helicopter-safety precautions to manage risk, and to avoid accidental loss of aviation personnel and equipment.”

Gen. Robert B. Abrams said in the release that the “decision to ground our aircraft today is taken with the utmost seriousness and my responsibility as the Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command.”

“I have a duty to ensure that we are doing all that we can to prevent loss of life and aviation accidents,” Gen. Abrams said, “and that is why we’re standing down to review our procedures and reaffirm our commitment to operating our aircraft safely and effectively. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the soldiers who died recently in these accidents.”

There has been a string of fatal helicopter crashes during training missions over the last few weeks.

Four crew members on an Army helicopter died when it crashed at Fort Hood during a routine training mission on November 23, and two other pilots were killed the same day also in a helicopter crash during a training exercise in South Korea, according to Reuters. Two more aviators flying out of Fort Campbell were killed in another training exercise when their helicopter went down in Kentucky on Tuesday, as reported by the Courier-Journal.

Investigations by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center “are underway in several recent Army aviation incidents,” according to the U.S. Army Forces Command release on the stand down order.

“We cannot allow tragedy to pass unacknowledged,” Abrams said in the release. “We must do whatever is needed to make certain that our soldiers are training and operating safely.”