Three Idaho National Guardsmen killed; flags ordered to half-staff

BOISE — Governor Brad Little ordered flags flown at half-staff to honor the three Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers killed Tuesday night after their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed.

According to a news release on the Idaho National Guard’s Facebook page, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jesse Anderson, 43; Chief Warrant Officer 3 George “Geoff” Laubhan, 39; and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Peltzer, 43 died when their helicopter crashed during a routine training flight south of Lucky Peak near Boise shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday. Crews located the crashed helicopter and the three soldiers around 12:15 Wednesday morning.

“This is a tremendous loss to the Idaho National Guard and our community,” Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho and commander of the Idaho National Guard, said in a news release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones as we work through this tragedy.”

Little ordered flags lowered to half-staff Wednesday morning in honor of the soldiers.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of three brave and talented pilots killed during service to our state and nation. Their tragic deaths leave an emptiness in the lives of their families and loved ones, the entire National Guard community, and all of us. Our women and men in the Idaho National Guard bravely take on the inherent dangers of their work to serve the people of Idaho and the United States whenever called upon. As Idahoans, let’s quiet ourselves and reflect on their courage and sacrifice. Please join me in prayer for the heroes we lost and seek to comfort all the lives they touched,” Little said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

According to the Idaho National Guard’s news release, the cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation.

Flags will remain at half-mast until the day after the soldiers memorial service.

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