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Iraq crash killed key U.S. officers

The copter went down last weekend. A missile strike is suspected.

January 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

BAGHDAD — Two colonels, a lieutenant colonel and two command sergeants major were among the 12 U.S. soldiers killed last weekend in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter northeast of Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

It appeared to be the largest number of key officers and command sergeants killed in a single incident since the Iraq war started nearly four years ago.

The helicopter went down Saturday in Diyala province, one of the volatile regions in the Iraq conflict.

The Army has said the cause of the crash is under investigation. But a Pentagon official has said debris indicates the helicopter was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

Ten of the dead were members of the National Guard, making the crash the deadliest single combat incident for the Guard since at least the Korean War, said Mark Allen, a National Guard Bureau spokesman.

A Pentagon statement Wednesday said the victims included Col. Brian D. Allgood, 46, the top Army surgeon in Iraq, and Col. Paul M. Kelly, 45, assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Virginia Army National Guard in Blackstone, Va.

Also killed were Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard, assigned to the Iowa National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Roger W. Haller of the Maryland National Guard.

Command sergeant major is one of the Army's highest enlisted ranks.

The other victims were Lt. Col. David C. Canegata of the Virgin Islands National Guard; Maj. Michael V. Taylor of the Arkansas National Guard; Capt. Sean E. Lyerly of the Texas National Guard; 1st Sgt. William T. Warren of the Arkansas National Guard; Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker of the Virginia National Guard; Sgt. 1st Class John Brown of the Arkansas National Guard; Staff Sgt. Floyd E. Lake of the Virgin Islands National Guard; and Cpl. Victor Langarica of the 86th Signal Battalion, Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.

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