Three Oklahoma soldiers die in helicopter crash

The Oklahoma Army National Guard announced today three Oklahoma soldiers were killed in a Army CH-47 helicopter crash in Iraq.

Seven 149th Aviation soldiers in the accident were members of both the Oklahoma and Texas National Guard.  The Oklahoma Army National Guard said it believes three of the casualties were Oklahoma Guardsmen from Detachment 1, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation based in Lexington.  

The soldiers were en route via chinook from Kuwait to Balad, where the unit has been based, when the crash occurred.  The Oklahoma Army National Guard said it has been determined that the crash was not the result of hostile action and the incident is currently under investigation.

The Oklahoma Army National Guard said it has notified family members.

"Our casualty assistance teams are currently with our family members," Maj. Gen Harry M. Wyatt III, adjutant general of Oklahoma, said in a statement.  "Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and support go out to their families, friends and fellow Soldiers during this difficult time."

The unit, made up of approximately 200 Texas and Oklahoma Guard members, mobilized in June and left for duty in Iraq in late August.  -Gazette staff