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Isle-based Army pilots die in Iraq crash


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POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two Schofield Barracks aviators were killed Sunday when their 0H-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed in Iraq.

The Pentagon identified the 25th Infantry Division soldiers as Chief Warrant Officer Mathew C. Heffelfinger, 29, of Kimberly, Idaho; and Chief Warrant Officer Earl R. Scott III, 24, of Jacksonville, Fla.

The two-seat observation helicopter crashed near Tikrit. The Army did not say which soldier was piloting the Kiowa when it came in for a “;hard landing,”; according to a family friend.

The Army said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

 

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The 5,500-pound OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a single-engine, double-bladed armed reconnaissance helicopter.

Nick Bradley, a friend of Scott's, told a Florida newspaper that the Army told the aviator's family that the Kiowa crashed as it was landing after a routine mission.

Scott's father—Earl Scott Jr.—told the Jacksonville Times-Union that his son dreamed of being a pilot. He studied aviation in community college in Jacksonville before enlisting in March 2006, then was assigned to Schofield Barracks in 2008.

He hoped to finish his degree and continue with a career in aviation—whether in the military or the commercial field, his father said.

The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment of 25th Aviation Brigade Combat Team.

Heffelfinger enlisted in April 2000 and was sent to Schofield in 2007. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Hammerhead brigade deployed to Iraq last month for a 12-month tour.

On May 27 the brigade lost two pilots undergoing a routine training mission at their home base at Wheeler Army Airfield when their Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed. Killed were Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Millwards and Chief Warrant Officer Stanley Hepfner.