Minnesota National Guard members Chief Warrant Officers 2nd Class James A. Rogers Jr., 28, and Charles P. Nord, 30, and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28, were killed on December 5 when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed on a ‘routine’ maintenance flight. They had returned from a deployment in Afghanistan in May. (MPR news). An Investigative team from Fort Rucker will probe the cause of the crash.
Screenshot of helicopter crash site via CBS
The Black Hawk disappeared about 2 p.m. after taking off from the Army Aviation Flight Facility near the St. Cloud airport. According to emergency dispatch audio from Stearns County, the helicopter’s crew sent a mayday alert nine minutes after takeoff.
Local and state emergency workers swarmed the area in an intensive search before a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter with thermal imaging cameras spotted the wreckage about 16 miles southwest of St. Cloud.
Minnesota Gov Tim Walz served 24 years in the Minnesota National Guard, and ordered flags to half staff until 2:05 on Monday. That was about the time controllers lost contact with the Black Hawk.
“On behalf of all Minnesotans, Gwen and I offer our deepest sympathies to the families of Chief Warrant Officer Two Charles Nord, Chief Warrant Officer Two James Rogers, and Sergeant Kort Plantenberg. They paid the ultimate price in their service to Minnesota and to the United States of America. Words will never ease the pain of this tragic loss and the state of Minnesota is forever in the debt of these warriors,”
“Stearns County authorities said it took several hours to find the craft following the mayday signal. Emergency responders, including an aviation rescue team from St. Paul, rushed to the scene after it was discovered by a State Patrol helicopter in trees by a field about 16 miles from St. Cloud, near Kimball, Minn.”
According to locals, if the helicopter had crashed just a short distance away, it would have been in an empty field.
Pilot Charlie Nord loved flying helicopters. When he wasn’t flying for the Minnesota National Guard, he flew crop dusting helicopters. He leaves behind a wife, one child, and another on the way. He loved being the “one person everyone looked up to” when he was flying.
Information on any awards for the three Guard members were not immediately available. Rest in peace, gentlemen.
Featured photo: Minnesota National Guard screenshot via MPR