La. Guard releases names of soldiers killed in crash

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The Louisiana National Guard has released the names of the four-person flight crew of a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in the Santa Rosa Sound along Florida’s Panhandle in a nighttime training exercise in dense fog last week with seven elite Marines aboard.

Piloting the helicopter were Chief Warrant Officer George Wayne Griffin Jr. of Delhi, 37, and Chief Warrant Officer George David Strother of Alexandria, 44. Both were decorated veteran pilots.

Also killed were Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron, 40, of Thibodaux and Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, Fairfax, Virginia.

The head of the Louisiana National Guard, Major General Glenn Curtis made the announcement Monday morning at the Jackson Barracks Museum in New Orleans.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has ordered flags at the state Capitol and all other state buildings and institutions to fly at half-staff until sunset March 20 to honor the guard members and seven Marines who died in the crash March 10.

The soldiers from Hammond each did two tours in Iraq and participated in humanitarian missions after Gulf Coast hurricanes and the 2010 BP oil spill off Louisiana.

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