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National Guard Copter Crashes

July 11, 2000

PHOENIX (AP) _ An Army National Guard helicopter crashed near Gila Bend, killing both soldiers aboard, authorities said Tuesday.

The AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed on the Barry M. Goldwater Range about 8 p.m. Monday during night exercises, said Capt. Eileen Bienz of the Arizona Army National Guard,

First Lt. Steven J. Jordon, 35, of Phoenix and Chief Warrant Officer Gregory Clevenger, 45, of Tucson, both died in the crash.

A qualified board of officers from Fort Rucker, Ala., a major Army helicopter training base, has been appointed to investigate the cause of the crash, Bienz said.

The helicopter had been based out of the Army National Guard facility in Marana.

There have been at least 50 other severe crashes of Apaches since the helicopter was delivered to the Army in 1985, and 14 fatalities, including two deaths in Albania during a NATO training mission.

The $14.5 million Apache was designed and built by McDonnell Douglas at its plant in Mesa. It carries a mix of three weapons systems: aerial rockets, a cannon that fires high-explosive ammunition, and Hellfire missiles.

The blunt-nosed, flat-bellied Apache AH-64A is the Army’s primary attack helicopter. It is equipped with night sights and other sensors that permit its two-person crew to navigate and attack in darkness and in poor weather.

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