Soldier killed in Fort Bliss chopper crash felt "blessed" to fly in helicopters


POSTED: Monday, May 5, 2014 - 6:44pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 8:09am

NewsChannel 9 has confirmed the sergeant killed during a helicopter crash at Fort Bliss is 27-year-old Dwight Burn of the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

According to his Facebook page, Burn was originally from Belize but was raised in Barstow, California.

He wrote of his love for flying, posting, “I was blessed or got lucky…when I became a Chinook flight guy. I’ve met some amazing people, have had great guys teach me the ropes, flown with some amazing pilots and got to the see the world from a point of view most people only dream of."

The U.S. army said Burn was one of four soldiers onboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that went down in a mountainous region near Orogrande, New Mexico around 8:15 Saturday night.

The three other soldiers were in stable condition Monday, according to the Army. No details were given as to their identities or injuries, though officials said two of the three could be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday.

A Fort Bliss official said a group of investigators from the Army Readiness/Safety Center in Fort Rucker, Alabama arrived Sunday night to begin its investigation into the cause of the crash.

The team of 3-4 people will be on the ground in Orogrande for about 14 days collecting evidence, the official said. A conclusion as to a cause could take up to six months.

Another investigation team from Fort Bragg was also expected on Monday.

Members of the 82nd Airborne Division arrived at Fort Bliss for six-week training at the beginning of April, according to post officials. The crew involved in Saturday’s crash was conducting high-altitude mountain training.

A Fort Bliss spokesman said helicopter teams have been training in the area since the early 2000’s since the environment near Orogrande is similar to that of Afghanistan.

According to Army statistics, there have been 32 aviation accidents in fiscal year 2014, resulting in 3 deaths. In FY2012, there were 43 accidents and 8 deaths.

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