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Army Sgt. David Solinas Jr. of New Jersey killed in Kentucky helicopter crash

Army Sgt. David Solinas Jr. of NJ killed in Kentucky helicopter crash
Army Sgt. David Solinas Jr. of NJ killed in Kentucky helicopter crash 01:34

NEW YORK -- One of the nine soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Kentucky was a New Jersey native.

Family and friends have been visiting the Oradell home of 23-year-old Sgt. David Michael Solinas, who the U.S. Army identifies as one of the nine service members killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash near Fort Campbell on Wednesday night.

"We are a faithful family, and we are proud David was training to rescue soldiers on the battlefield," said Solinas' brother Aidan Solinas.

Family of Army sgt. killed in helicopter crash addresses media 01:20

The sergeant's boots sit outside his family's front door. The deadly crash was during a routine training exercise. Two Black Hawk helicopters collided midair.

The Black Hawks are used for medical evacuations for the 101st Airborne Division. The helicopter crashed in a field about 30 miles northwest of Fort Campbell.

"Being a flight medic is one of the most difficult jobs that you can do and illustrates that David was a man of compassion and faith," Aidan Solinas said.

Army officials say the aircraft's operators were wearing their night vision goggles during the time of the crash. Even with the goggles on, it's known to be a risky flight that requires laser-sharp precision with limited depth perception.

In a statement, the 101st Airborne Division's commanding general expressed support for the mourning families, adding: "The loss of these soldiers will reverberate through our formations for years to come ... Now is the time for grieving and healing."

Gov. Phil Murphy released the following statement:

"Tammy and I are devastated by the news that a New Jerseyan, Sergeant David Solinas of Oradell, was among those who lost their lives Wednesday when a nighttime training mission among Blackhawk helicopters in Kentucky ended in tragedy. At just 23 years of age, David already left an imprint on his community and his service will not be forgotten. We send our deepest condolences to Sgt. Solinas' family and loved ones. In his memory, and in honor of his service to our nation, I will sign an executive order on Monday morning that will direct flags to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, April 4."    

"We would like to thank the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, family and friends for their love, support and prayers," Aidan Solinas said.

An Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Alabama, is investigating the cause of the accident.

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