A memorial ceremony was held this morning for two soldiers from the Third Infantry Division. CWO Nicholas DiMona and WO William Loffer were killed last Tuesday when their Apache Longbow helicopter crashed at Fort Stewart. Both men were from the 1st Battalion 3rd Aviation Brigade out of Hunter Army Airfield
Fellow soldiers and family members gathered to say goodbye to two men who died training for what they believed in.
"It's important that we honor these young men who have, by their volunteerism, joined the military to protect this nation and so it's an honor for us to do that for those who have fallen," said Army chaplain Lt. Col. Mickey Foxworth.
DiMona and Loffer lost their lives on a routine training mission to sharpen their combat readiness skills. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Pedro G. Almeida said, "It is inherently dangerous, the work that we do, and there is no doubt about that. The risks that are taken by soldiers every day, both in Army aviation and across the entire force, is significant and that is part of the sacrifice and the risks that we entail."
Although both pilots had completed this type of training many times before, military officials say Army pilots understand the risk they take every time they fly. "We will mourn their loss, but the Army will go ahead and continue...to operate and to train," said Lt. Col. Almeida.
The families of both the soldiers will be holding funerals in their hometowns later this week.