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3 crew members declared dead in Kaena Point crash

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    HFD rescue crew member handing off retrieved debris to U.S. Army personnel at the command center in Haleiwa, July 16.

Three crew members of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off of Oahu on Aug. 15 have been declared deceased after their DNA was confirmed to be amongst debris recovered from the crash.

The Armed Forces Medical Examiner confirmed as deceased 1st Lt. Kathryn M. Bailey, Staff Sgt. Abigail R. Milam, and Sgt. Michael L. Nelson.

Two other crew members aboard the helicopter remain missing and are classified as “duty status – whereabouts unknown.”

The crew was participating in a night training mission off Kaena Point when the helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances.

An intensive five-day search turned up debris from the helicopter but no sign of the five service members.

Bailey, 26, from Hope Mills, North Carolina, was an aviation officer assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. In two years of service, she earned the the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Aviator Badge.

Milam, 33, from Jenkins, Kentucky, was a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter repairer with six years of service. She was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Her recognitions include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with two loops, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with award numeral 2, Army Service Ribbon, and the Aviation Badge.

Nelson, 30, of Antioch, Tenn., was a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter repairer with 11 year of service. He was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division and had earned the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Army Good Conduct Medal with three loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with award numeral 3, the NATO Medal, and the Aviation Badge. He previously served two tours in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and 25th Infantry Division are continuing with recovery and salvage operations. The circumstances of this incident are currently under investigation.

Military officials said debris from the crash may yet be floating in the ocean or be washed ashore. Such debris is considered hazardous and should only be handled by trained recovery teams with appropriate protective equipment.

Anyone who locates debris from the crash along the north and west shores of Oahu and the south and east shores of Kauai is asked to call the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade staff duty officer at 656-1080.

Correction: Sgt. Michael Nelson was from Antioch, Tenn., not Texas as reported in an earlier version of this story.

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