Maui News

Findings Released in Vickers Helicopter Crash

October 13, 2011, 8:05 AM HST
* Updated October 13, 10:14 AM
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By Wendy Osher

File photo by Wendy Osher.

Findings have been released from an investigation into the military helicopter crash that killed 36-year-old Kraig Vickers of Maui, and 29 other service members.

The investigation by the US Central Command confirmed that the primary cause of the August 6, 2011 crash was an insurgent-fired rocket propelled grenade strike.

Authorities say the device struck the aft rotor blade of the CH-47 craft as it approached its combat landing zone in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan.

The investigation determined that operational planning and execution were consistent with previous missions.

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It also noted that forces and capabilities were appropriate given the agility required to maintain pressure on insurgent networks.

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There was no evidence of a pre-planned ambush, according to the Department of Defense.

While 30 service members were killed in the incident, a total of 38 personnel were aboard the craft and died as a result of the crash.

According to the executive summary report, a tactical decision was made to load all personnel on one aircraft because the Immediate Reaction Force’s commander wanted to mass troops quickly, and mitigate the increased risk of to a second helicopter approaching the landing zone.

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The report states that the landing zone was studied and approved for a previous mission, but never used.

Vickers, originally of Kokomo, Maui, was laid to rest on September 3, 2011 at the Valley Isle Memorial Park in Haiku.

He was a Senior Chief Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist attached to a Navy Seal Team Unit.

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