Killeen Daily Herald
By David A. Bryant
Herald staff writer
September 15, 2016
FORT HOOD — Search and rescue operations were not launched for nearly three hours after a fatal Black Hawk helicopter crash on Fort Hood in November due to a series of delays in communication.
|Sgt. 1st Class Toby Childers|
The UH-60 Black Hawk carrying four soldiers crashed at approximately 5:30 p.m. Nov. 23, 2015, in a training area on Fort Hood. The aircraft was reported missing about 20 minutes later when the crew failed to report over the radio on schedule and was classified as overdue, according to a report on the crash.
Search and rescue missions should begin after officials are unable to make contact. However, an attempt to locate the aircraft was made before notifying the authorities responsible for initiating a search.
There was a nearly three-hour delay in launching those rescue efforts, according to the facts, findings and recommendations section of the internal investigation released Wednesday by First Army.
Regulations state the Installation Operations Center (IOC) on Fort Hood is responsible for initiating search and rescue. However, officials at the IOC seemed “unaware of their role in the overdue aircraft battle drill,” according to the internal investigation.
The report further stated the cause of the crash that killed Sgt. 1st Class Toby Childers, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen B. Cooley, Sgt. 1st Class Jason M. Smith and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael F. Tharp was due to pilot error while attempting a combat maneuvering flight technique called a break turn.
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