Troops evacuated to Germany in stable condition following helicopter crash in Syria, hospital says
Stars and Stripes June 14, 2023
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The U.S. troops evacuated to Germany after a helicopter crash in Syria do not have life-threatening injuries, an Army hospital spokesman said Wednesday.
“All are in stable condition,” said Marcy Sanchez, spokesman for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the U.S. military’s largest overseas hospital.
The troops survived a potentially deadly helicopter accident in northeastern Syria on Sunday that injured 22, according to a statement by U.S. Central Command.
Ten troops were evacuated to higher-care facilities outside the region, the statement said.
An unspecified number of more seriously wounded troops arrived at Landstuhl on Tuesday, Sanchez said.
The wounded soldiers were part of the Army’s Delta Force commando unit, according to a New York Times report Tuesday.
Their MH-47 Chinook helicopter went down in apparently good weather and without taking hostile fire, the report said, citing three unnamed senior military officials.
The Chinook “had a problem with one rotor that caused a hard landing during takeoff,” Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told The New York Times on Tuesday.
The accident’s cause is under investigation, according to CENTCOM.
“We have nothing additional to provide pending the outcome of the investigation,” Maj. John Moore, a CENTCOM spokesman, said in an email.
The United States has about 900 service members in Syria, part of joint efforts with Kurdish fighters to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State, according to the command.
The U.S. also has about 170 contractors in Syria, CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn said in March.
A contractor died and 25 troops were injured in March by a drone attack on a U.S. base by groups linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The U.S. responded with airstrikes on facilities used by the groups.
U.S. troops have been in the region since ISIS swept through Iraq and Syria in 2014, taking control of large swaths of territory.
The Islamic State lost the last territory it held in 2019. The U.S. military says the group remains a threat in the region and continue to launch raids against ISIS militants.
At least 17 of these operations took place in May, a statement from the command said.