The loss of four Louisiana National Guard members and seven Marines during a training exercise in Florida is a reminder that military service comes with risks, even when that service is performed stateside.
The loss occurred after a helicopter carrying the military personnel crashed off the Florida coast. The National Guard members were part of the Guard’s 1-1244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, based in Hammond.
Our hearts and prayers are with the families of those lost in the crash. We’re hopeful that the military will conduct a thorough review of the crash to determine what happened and what, if anything, can be done to prevent similar accidents in the future.
The 1-1224th was created in 1987 and has about 300 soldiers from Louisiana. Along with valiant service in Iraq, the battalion also offered invaluable assistance during hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac, as well as during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. The battalion’s choppers were among many that plucked survivors from rooftops after floodwaters ravaged New Orleans in the days after Katrina.
Valor like that is easy to forget. But this week’s accident in Florida underscores how important it is to remember those who protect us, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.