1st Lt. Clayton R. Cullen and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin F. Burke were identified as the soldiers killed in the Apache AH-64 crash early Saturday morning near Fort Irwin in California. Both were assigned to the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado. Fort Irwin is a national training facility.
“We are all deeply saddened by the deaths of 1st Lt. Clayton R. Cullen and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin F. Burke. These gentlemen exemplified all the attributes we expect from our very best leaders. They were selfless, mission-focused, and committed to their teammates. Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to Clayton’s and Kevin’s Families. These two young leaders left an indelible mark on the entire Iron Eagle team. We will forever be better Soldiers, and a more combat-ready aviation brigade, due to their leadership.” Col. Scott Gallaway, commander 4th Combat Aviation Brigade
According to Hugh Johnson at the Denver Post, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Burke joined the Army in 2007, and did two tours of duty in Iraq. His awards included the Army Commendation Medal and the Achievement Medal. The Army Commendation medal was given once, and he earned the Army Achievement medal four times.
Lt Cullen was commissioned into the Army in 2015 when he was fresh out of Indiana University. He earned the Army Achievment Medal.
ABC reported that because the deaths occurred during the government shutdown, the $100,000 death benefit would not have been accessible to the families. But in 2013, the Pentagon made an arrangement with the Fisher House Foundation to pay any death benefits during a govt shutdown.
In the 2013 shutdown, Congress passed a law to allow the military to be paid, and the Fisher Foundation agreed to pay families $25,000. It is unclear what arrangement was made this time, since the shutdown ended at midnight on Monday.
The cause of the Apache AH-64 accident is still under investigation.
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