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Two special operations soldiers killed, three injured, in California aviation training mishap

Two special operations soldiers were killed and three were injured in an aircraft mishap during an Army Special Operations Command training exercise near Coronado, California, according to an Army Special Operations Command spokesperson.

“An element of U.S. Army Special Operations Command was conducting routine training in the vicinity of Coronado, California, on August 27, when an aircraft incident occurred,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Two Soldiers were killed and three were injured. The area has been secured and an investigation into the incident is underway. More information will be released 24-hours following next of kin notification. Our sincere condolences go out the families and friends of the deceased. We thank you for not contacting them during this difficult time.”

The incident occurred when the troops’ Blackhawk helicopter crashed on San Clemente Island late Thursday, a Defense Department official told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Clemente, a U.S. Navy-controlled island 70 miles west of San Diego, has an airfield, a bombing range and a training facility used by special operations units. The island falls under the command of Naval Base Coronado.

This incident comes after nine service members were killed July 30 in an amphibious assault vehicle while returning from a training raid at San Clemente Island.

Eight of 15 Marines on board the AAV and one sailor died in that accident.

The names of the service members who died were:

— Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of Corona, California.

— Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California.

— Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

— Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (Fleet Marine Force) Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California.

— Lance Cpl. Jack-Ryan Ostrovsky, 20, of Bend, Oregon.

— Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 19, of New Braunfels, Texas.

— Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 22, of Harris, Texas.

— Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 18, of Portland, Oregon.

— Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California.

This is a fluid story. Stay with Military Times for updates.

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