Wednesday, May 07, 2008

US Army soldier dies in exercise at Wainwright, Alberta

Our condolences to the family and friends among our fine allies:
OTTAWA (AFP) — An American soldier has died in Canada's western Alberta province during a joint Canada-US military exercise, a US Army spokeswoman told AFP Tuesday.

"We had an incident," said Major Hillary Luton. "An American aviation unit based out of Washington state and a Canadian unit were doing a joint training exercise called Maple Guardian."

"That's when we had an accident yesterday that resulted in the death of one of our soldiers," she said.

The 25-year-old army reservist was not immediately identified.

According to reports, he was practicing flying Chinook helicopters at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Edmonton, but Luton said he was on the ground at the time of the accident.

More details of his death would be released Wednesday morning after his family had been officially notified, she said.
An Army reservist who died Monday during a training exercise in Canada has been identified as Spc. Joseph M. Cerfus.

The 25-year-old was a resident of Marysville, the Reservist headquarters in Seattle announced this morning. In addition to being a reservist, Cerfus worked as a custody officer for the Skokomish Sheriff’s Office.

Cerfus was a member of A Company of the 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, a Chinook helicopter unit based at Gray Army Airfield at Fort Lewis. The 200-soldier unit was in Alberta, Canada, as part of a training event called Maple Guardian Exercise, a joint venture with U.S. and Canadian forces. The training program was preparing troops for deployment in Afghanistan.

When the incident occurred Monday morning, Cerfus was part of a ground-based hook-up crew on a sling-load operation, the Reservist headquarters said.

“A sling-load operation involves slinging an item under an airborne helicopter and flying it to another location,” the press release stated.

Cerfus was treated at the scene and then taken to a hospital, where he died.

No other soldiers were injured during the training exercise.
We are buying Chinooks in the hope of saving Canadian lives in Afghanistan.What a sad irony that the US's providing us with experience on the Chinooks that others are using in the meantime to help us there has cost the life of an American.


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