Two Army National Guard soldiers from Louisville killed in Iraq

Two members of the 1/230th Air Cavalry unit based in Louisville were killed Sunday in a helicopter accident in Northern Iraq.

Major Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, on Tuesday confirmed that two Tennessee Army National Guard pilots were killed Sunday, Feb. 21, in a helicopter accident in Iraq.

Capt. Marcus Ray Alford of Knoxville and Chief Warrant Officer Two Billie Jean Grinder of Gallatin died when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior made a “hard landing” near Qayyarah Airfield West (Q-West) about 30 miles south of Mosul in Northern Iraq. The soldiers were assigned to Troop C, 1/230th Air Cavalry in Louisville.

“Words cannot express my extreme sorrow at the loss of these outstanding soldiers, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families and friends of these valiant warriors,” Gen. Haston said. “Tennessee has lost two brave volunteers who truly believed in what they were doing to ensure a free Iraq. This loss is felt not only in the Tennessee National Guard, but throughout the entire military community. We shall miss them greatly.

“We are still a nation at war, and we must continue to keep our soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen in our daily thoughts and prayers.”

The accident is under investigation.

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