• February 24, 2017

Army releases bios, photos of soldiers killed in Fort Hood Black Hawk crash

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Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 4:29 pm

FORT HOOD — One earned a Bronze Star. Another earned a Meritorious Service Medal. A third man earned five Army Commendation Medals. And the fourth earned the Air Medal three times.

All were seasoned combat veterans who, together, served more than 65 years in the military.

They are the four soldiers who died in last week’s Black Hawk crash at Fort Hood.

First Army Division West released the photos and career summaries Tuesday of the four soldiers who died when the helicopter went down sometime after 5:49 p.m. Nov. 23 in the northeast portion of the Fort Hood training area.

All four crew members were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, First Army Division West. The aircraft, assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, was on a routine training mission, officials said.

Officials have not said what caused the crash, which is being investigated by a three-member team from the Army Combat Readiness Center, headquartered at Fort Rucker, Ala.

The fallen soldiers are:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Toby A. Childers

Childers, 40, whose home of record is listed as Hays, Kan., entered active-duty military service in September 1999 as a Black Hawk helicopter repairer and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, Division West, since August 2014.

Childers deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2010 to February 2011 and to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from August 2013 to April 2014.

Childers’ awards and decorations include a Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, five Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Expeditionary Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, three Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, four Overseas Service Ribbons, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, Multinational Force and Observers Medal, Aviation Badge and Senior Aviation Badge.

  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen B. Cooley

Cooley, 40, whose home of record is Cantonment, Fla., entered active-duty military service in January 2000 as a rotary wing aviator.

In July 2007, he became a Black Hawk pilot, and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, Division West, since February 2014.

Cooley deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from August 2012 to March 2013, to Iraq from January 2008 to October 2008 and from January 2011 to November 2011.

Cooley’s awards and decorations include three Air Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Marine Corps Security Ribbon, Navy Marine Corps Overseas Ribbon, Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, Army Aviator Badge and the Senior Army Aviator Badge.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Jason M. Smith

Smith, 35, whose home of record is Destrehan, La., entered active-duty service in June 2000 as a Black Hawk helicopter repairer, and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, Division West, since Oct. 29.

Smith deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2004 to March 2005, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2011 to September 2012 and in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel from September 2014 to May 2015.

Smith’s awards and decorations include a Bronze Star Medal, two Air Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, five Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, two Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, Aviation Badge and Senior Aviation Badge.

  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael F. Tharp

Tharp, 40, was posthumously promoted from chief warrant officer 2 on Tuesday. His home of record is listed as Katy, near Houston.

He entered active-duty military service in September 1995 as a rotary wing aviator.

In August 2009 he became a Black Hawk pilot, and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, Division West, since September 2014.

Tharp deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2010 to March 2011 and from September 2012 to April 2013.

Tharp’s awards and decorations include two Air Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, five Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, four Army Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, three Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, Army Aviator Badge, Senior Aviator Badge, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and Senior Parachutist Badge.

For more on Army awards, go to the Institute of Heraldry’s website at www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil.

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1 comment:

  • Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er posted at 7:21 am on Wed, Dec 2, 2015.

    Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er Posts: 343

    Our condolences to the family and friends of these soldiers.
    May you find comfort in the special memories you have with your loved ones.

    God Bless You...God Bless America!