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National Guard Announces Safety Stand Down Following Recent Helicopter Crashes

24-003 | Feb. 27, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va., — The National Guard Bureau announced today the director of the Army National Guard has ordered an aviation safety stand down of all Army National Guard helicopter units to review safety policies and procedures following two recent helicopter crashes. The stand down went into effect Monday.

Two separate crashes of AH-64D Apache helicopters in Utah on February 12 and Mississippi on February 23 drove the decision to ground all helicopters for safety reasons. Mississippi Army National Guard pilots Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott died in the February 23 crash.

“We are a combat force with helicopters training or on mission worldwide every day,” said Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, director of the Army National Guard. “Safety is always at the top of our minds. We will stand down to ensure all of our crews are prepared as well as possible for whatever they’re asked to do.”

Nearly 45,000 National Guard men and women are currently deployed in support of the National Guard’s primary missions: Fighting America’s Wars and Securing the Homeland.