Fort Drum remembers 2003 helicopter crash that killed 11 soldiers

File photo of 2003 helicopter crash site
File photo of 2003 helicopter crash site(WWNY)
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 4:49 PM EST
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - Fort Drum will mark a solemn day in its history on Saturday, remembering 11 soldiers who died in a helicopter crash on post.

On March 11, 2003, 3 aircraft were returning to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, but the last chopper, a Black Hawk, didn’t return.

It crashed in a snowy, wooded area on Fort Drum.

The soldiers who died were part of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment and the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Eleven soldiers died. Two were critically hurt but survived, according to Fort Drum.

They were training on post just as the Iraq war was set to start a week later.

That March day, emergency services in the north country were put to the test as first responders rushed victims to Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown by ambulance, and by air.

Days later an emotional ceremony was held on post as family members, friends and local leaders gathered to remember those soldiers who died.

One by one, caskets were put on a military plane so services could be planned back in the soldiers’ hometowns.

Our reporting back in 2003 introduced us to some of the soldiers who were killed. They ranged in age from 18 to 35.

Fort Drum says its ceremony Saturday will honor the legacy of the soldiers lost.