Thursday, January 25, 2007

Iraq crash exacts heavy toll from U.S.

"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two colonels, one lieutenant colonel and two command sergeants major were among the 12 soldiers killed last weekend in a Black Hawk helicopter crash northeast of Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

It appeared to be the largest number of key officers and command sergeants killed in a single incident during since the Iraq war started nearly four years ago.

The U.S. command has not said why so many key officers were aboard a single helicopter, which went down Saturday in Diyala province, one of the flashpoints of the Iraq conflict. It was also unclear why they were traveling in the volatile region. But the loss of such pivotal figures is likely to be a severe blow to their units.

Ten of the dead were members of the National Guard, making it the deadliest single combat incident for the Guard since at least the Korean War, said Mark Allen, a National Guard Bureau spokesman....."

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