Two special operations soldiers were killed and three others injured on Thursday evening when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed during routine training off the Californian coast, Army officials said. Their helicopter crashed on San Clemente Island, which is about 70 miles west of Coronado and San Diego.
The deceased were Staff Sgt. Vincent P. Marketta, 33, of Brick, New Jersey, and Sgt. Tyler M. Shelton, 22, of San Bernardino, California, according to an Army Special Operations Command media release.
“The loss of Staff Sgt. Marketta and Sgt. Shelton has left a scar in this Regiment that will never completely heal,” said Col. Andrew R. Graham, commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). “Their level of dedication to the 160th SOAR (A) and their exemplary service in the Army is the embodiment of what it means to be a Night Stalker and a Soldier.”
The unit was conducting the training in Coronado, Calif. when the incident occurred, a spokesperson from SOCOM said. An investigation is currently underway.