Fort Drum Remembers Fatal Helicopter Crash A Decade Later
It was ten years ago.
The war in Iraq would start in less than two weeks.
On March 11, 2003, eleven soldiers were killed when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed on post during training for deployment to Iraq.
The next day, then-Fort Drum Commander Major General Franklin Hagenbeck said, "Our hearts are heavy today as we grieve with the families of our fallen comrades."
Hearts are still heavy today.
Monday morning's overcast skies were an appropriate setting for a very somber remembrance at Fort Drum.
Former members of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, the so-called Polar Bears, were on hand for the ceremony.
The unit lost seven soldiers in the accident.
For some former members of the unit, the nightmare never ends.
"It seems like a bad dream that you wake up in cold sweats from," said former member Matthew Boone.
The helicopter crash, in a remote area of Fort Drum, also killed four members of the 10th Aviation Regiment.
At Fort Drum Monday, the names of the fallen soldiers were read aloud.
"When I hear the ages, 23, 20 years old, 18, it just blows my mind that they never had the chance to live past that. And so I think everyone of us has an obligation to live a good life and do something meaningful," said former Polar Bear Jaye Lindsay.
"Still, even now, it's hard to grasp and completely understand," said Boone.
Some things never will be understood.