FORT STEWART, Ga. (WSAV) — A soldier was killed in a helicopter crash at Wright Army Field early Wednesday, according to Fort Stewart officials.
Capt. James Bellew, 26, was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Combat Brigade. The Charlottesville, Virginia native joined the Army in 2017 as a medical service officer, the 3rd Infantry Division said.
Officials said the incident happened around 2 a.m. involving two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, which serve as the Army’s utility tactical transport helicopters.
Bellew became an Aeromedical Evacuation Officer in 2019 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division since March 2020, the 3rd Infantry Division said.
“The loss of James is an immeasurable tragedy to his family, friends, crew and fellow Soldiers,” said Col. Eric Vanek, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade commander. “James was a part of one of the noblest professions imaginable; he dedicated his life to serving our country and did so in a role where he was constantly helping, and saving the lives of others.”
Bellew was tasked with medically evacuating critically-ill COVID-19 patients to higher level of care across the country, soldiers and families at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
Fort Stewart officials withheld the soldier’s name until his family members were properly notified.
“Normally I hear the booming going on and the guns firing and the tanks and the helicopters you hear flying back and forth, and last night it was weird because I did hear a big boom and it was about 5 to 2 when I heard it, but that’s all I heard,” said Liberty County resident, Mary Winkles. “I didn’t hear anything flying around after that big boom. Then I wake up this morning and found out there was a helicopter that crashed. And you know, they’re here for us, they’re protecting us. So yeah it’s heartbreaking, and we say prayers for the family and everybody involved.”
Fort Stewart has closed Wright Army Airfield until further notice as the investigation is ongoing.