Updated Feb 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Two National Guardsmen dead after helicopter crash in Mississippi

Two helicopters sit on the tarmac

AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters sit on the tarmac at the NC Army National Guard facility on Feb. 6, 2014, in Morrisville, N.C. Photo: Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Two National Guardsmen died following a helicopter crash in Mississippi Friday.

The big picture: The Apache AH-64 helicopter crash occurred during a routine training flight in northeastern Mississippi's Prentiss County, officials said.

  • The crash occurred at roughly 2pm CT in a wooded area near Booneville, according to the Mississippi National Guard.

The latest: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) identified on Saturday the two Mississippi National Guardsmen who died as Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, 42.

  • "I want to extend my deepest condolences to the families and to the friends of our fallen soldiers," Reeves said Saturday at a press conference.
  • "We will always remember these dedicated soldiers for their honorable service, and we grieve with the families during this tragic time," he said.

President Biden said in a statement Saturday that "these two Guardsmen embodied the very best of our nation — bound by honor, and committed to service."

"We will continue to keep our solemn promise to care for their families, just as they were faithful to our nation," Biden said, adding that the administration is "ready to provide any assistance needed."

The Mississippi National Guard said Friday that this was "an ongoing investigation" and that their "paramount concern at this time is to ensure proper casualty assistance is conducted to support the surviving family members," per a statement.

Zoom out: Several other military aviation crashes have occurred recently.

  • Five Marines aboard a helicopter died after a crash in California earlier this month.
  • The Marines had been on a CH-53E Super Stallion for a routine training flight from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
  • In December, an Air Force-operated Osprey crashed off of the coast of Japan's southern Yakushima Island, killing all eight crew members.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with the Mississippi National Guard's statement.

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