ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The Minnesota National Guard identified Saturday morning the three people who died Thursday in a Black Hawk helicopter crash southwest of St. Cloud.
Killed were Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., age 28; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, 30; and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28, the Guard announced in a series of tweets and in a press release.
All three soldiers were assigned to Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion, based in St. Cloud, which is where the flight began. No specific cities of residence were provided from the Guard.
The unit returned from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in May, where they conducted medical evacuations in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve. All three soldiers deployed on this mission.
"On behalf of all Minnesotans, Gwen and I offer our deepest sympathies to the families," Gov. Tim Walz said in a press release.
"They paid the ultimate price in their service to Minnesota and to the United States of America. Words will never ease the pain of this tragic loss and the state of Minnesota is forever in the debt of these warriors."
Representatives from the Army Aviation Center in Fort Rucker, Alabama, were expected to arrive Friday to lead the investigation into the crash.
Each victim's family will be assigned a Casualty Assistance Officer, who will help connect the families to support programs on a case-by-case basis, a Guard spokeswoman said Friday.
The three Minnesota National Guardsmen killed in the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 were:— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) December 7, 2019
Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., age 28
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, age 30
Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, age 28
On Friday, deputies remained on roads leading near the crash site, described as the edge of a farm field and wooded area about 15 miles southwest of St. Cloud, just outside of Marty, near Kimball.
The copter left the Guard's maintenance base next to St. Cloud Regional Airport around 2 p.m. Thursday for what the Guard described as a “maintenance test flight.” Nine minutes later, its crew issued a mayday call. The wreckage was found about 4 p.m. Thursday.
This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Minnesota Black Hawk helicopter crash: 3 Guard members identified