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Nine Soldiers Tragically Killed This Morning In A Helicopter Crash In Kentucky

Nine soldiers were killed when two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed during a training exercise in Kentucky on Wednesday night, officials said Thursday morning.

The crash occurred at around 10 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) in Trigg County, west of Fort Campbell, the Army base said in a statement early Thursday. The two HH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation aircraft were engaged in a training exercise, officials said.

All nine soldiers were based at Fort Campbell in the 101st Airborne Division. Their identities were not immediately made public, pending next-of-kin notification.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a news conference Thursday: “We know a lot about loss in Kentucky, especially these last few years. We’re going to do what we always do. We’re going to wrap our arms around these families.”

The absolute worst kind of news coming out of Kentucky this morning. Last night serves as a stark reminder that the Military is constantly and consistently dangerous. 

It's hard to really put into words how devastating these kinds of accidents are. You sit there getting a notification that someone has died. The units will never tell you the names of those who were killed before the next of kin are notified. You talk with the service member to your left and your right about the pain the families will be going through. You think about your own mortality and how that could have been you. You think about a lot of things in situations like that but every one of those thoughts comes with three emotions. Sadness. Anger. Scattered. 

The sadness is obvious. Your friends or comrades just died in a horrific accident so your emotions are flutterings and hard to control or make sense of. 

Anger because everyone knows this shouldn't have happened. There are safety checks after safety checks. There are entire lists of procedures that you have to do before the plane leaves the hangar and then again on the flight line. These checklists are exhaustive. You're angry. This shouldn't happen. Not now. Not ever. But sadly they do and they happen all too often and you are gutted because of it. 

Scattered. Your brain is all over the place. You can't keep those two other emotions in check and you can't organize where they go or how long they will be there. Those thoughts are floating through your brain like a tidal wave. Every wave that comes to the shoreline is a mixture of sadness and anger. There is nothing that calms those seas except for time and sometimes, time can be an enemy too. 

The families. I cannot even imagine what they are going through. What should have been a peaceful Thursday morning, just like the hundreds before, turns out to be one of, if not the, worst days of your life. They have to instantly shift from the regular Thursday morning to a Thursday morning where you are figuring out funeral arrangements, notifying other members of your family, and thinking about all the future memories that were ripped from you while also remembering those moments from the past that you should have remembered a little more fondly before. Regret rips through the heart of all the families going through something like this tragedy. 

Our hearts are heavy for those directly impacted by this catastrophe. There are no words and there won't be for these friends and families who just lost their loved ones. There won't be rest for a long time- time that right now is standing still while also moving faster than it ever has.