Army National Guard halts helicopter flights after 2 crashes, 1 fatal

The news comes after two AH-64 Apache helicopter crashes in just two weeks, one of which was fatal.

AH-64 Apache helicopters
Staff Sgt. Ian Kummer / National Guard

After two AH-64 Apache helicopter crashes this month, the Army National Guard's director has mandated that all helicopter units stand down to “review safety policies and procedures.”

According to a press release on Tuesday, the National Guard announced that all Army National Guard helicopter units ceased flying operations as the safety stand-down went into effect on Monday.

“We are a combat force with helicopters training or on mission worldwide every day,” said Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, in the press release. “Safety is always at the top of our minds. We will stand down to ensure all of our crews are prepared as well as possible for whatever they’re asked to do.”

The news comes after two members of the Mississippi National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, 42, died Friday after their AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed during a routine training flight.

Just days earlier on Feb. 12, two pilots survived with injuries in a crash involving another AH-64 Apache helicopter in Utah. 

The causes of both crashes have not been publicly disclosed, but the incidents remain under investigation by the Army’s Combat Readiness Center.