Pilot killed in Iraq helicopter crash was on his ninth deployment

Matt Saintsing
August 21, 2018 - 10:29 am

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army Special Operations Command


The Defense Department on Tuesday identified an American soldier killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq a day earlier.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor Gavin of Spokane, Washington, was killed when his aircraft went down just after 1:00am Monday morning, local Iraq time. He was assigned to Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), at Fort Campbell, Ky., also known as the “Night Stalkers.”

He was 34 years old.

Gavin died Monday in Baghdad from injuries sustained when his MH-60M, the special operations variant of a UH-60 Blackhawk, crashed near Sinjar in northwest Iraq.

Pentagon Spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday that the incident is under investigation and there is no signs that the aircraft went down as a result of enemy fire.

160th SOAR is an elite aviation unit specializing in dangerous night time operations

Three other soldiers were injured and medically evacuated, two of which were returned to duty.

A native of Phoenix, Ariz., Gavin enlisted in the Army in 2003, and completed warrant officer and flight training in 2008. He was on ninth deployment when he was killed, two during Operation Iraqi Freedom, three supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and four with Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the U.S.-led anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria.

OIR Spokesman Col. Sean Ryan tweeted Monday that the crash “demonstrates the sacrificed of Coalition service members and the danger they face everyday (sic).”

11 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and Syria this year. Gavin death marks the eighth American killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq this year. In March, seven U.S. Airmen were killed when their HH-60 Pave Hawk struck power lines in western Anbar Province.

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