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U.S. military identifies two soldiers killed in Black Hawk training crash

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(Reuters) – The U.S. Army on Saturday identified two soldiers who were killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash while training in Southern California as Staff Sgt. Vincent Marketta and Sgt. Tyler Shelton.

Both soldiers died and three other service members were injured in the accident Thursday at a military training base on San Clemente Island, but few other details of the incident were immediately available from the United States Army Special Operations Command.

The Army deaths come about a month after seven Marines and one Navy sailor died after a Navy amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) sank in several hundred feet of water during an exercise off the same island July 30.

San Clemente Island is a U.S. Navy-controlled island about 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of San Diego and is used by various branches of the military with its airfield and bombing range.

Marketta, 33, of Brick, New Jersey and Shelton, 22, of San Bernardino, California, were both Black Hawk helicopter technicians assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the military said in a release.

“The loss of Staff Sgt Marketta and Sgt. Shelton has left a scar in this regiment that will never completely heal,” Col. Andrew Graham, their commander, said in a release.

“Our priority now is to ensure that the families of our fallen warriors receive complete support as we work through this tragedy together,” Graham said.

Marketta and Shelton were both had served in Afghanistan, Marketta also served in Iraq.

Both will receive the Meritorious Service Medal posthumously.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by David Gregorio)

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