US Central Command’s official investigation determined that an insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade—not tactical error—caused the crash of an Army CH-47 helicopter that killed 30 US servicemen and eight Afghans on Aug. 6. “This mission, and the tactics and resources employed in its execution, were consistent with previous US special operations missions and the strike forces selected . . . were appropriate,” investigating officer Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Colt wrote in the investigating team’s report summary, released on Wednesday. Based on wreckage, accounts, and footage, investigators concluded that an RPG struck the helicopter’s aft rotor as it approached the landing zone, severing a blade and disintegrating both of the helicopter’s two rotors. The “main fuselage dropped vertically” exploding on impact, according to investigation team findings. Engaged in a night mission to kill or capture a Taliban leader in Wardak province, Afghanistan, three airmen were among the victims. (CENTCOM release) (Report executive summary; caution, large-sized file.)
One trailblazer will commemorate another, as former Air Force test pilot, astronaut candidate, and sculptor Ed Dwight has been selected to create a statue of the Air Force’s first Black four-star general, the General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr. Memorial Foundation announced Sept. 17.