NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana National Guard was expected Monday to release the names of four members killed last week when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed off Florida's Panhandle during a nighttime training mission.
Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard, scheduled a news conference late Monday morning at the Jackson Barracks Museum in New Orleans.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has ordered flags at the state Capitol and all other state buildings and institutions to fly at half-staff until sunset March 20 to honor the guard members and seven Marines who died in the crash March 10.
The soldiers from Hammond each did two tours in Iraq and participated in humanitarian missions after Gulf Coast hurricanes and the 2010 BP oil spill off Louisiana.
All eleven were killed when the helicopter crashed into about 25 feet of water in dense fog Tuesday night.
Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commander of Marine Corps special operations forces, has said they were practicing rappelling down ropes into the water and heading for land, but had decided to abort the mission as too risky.
The crash is being investigated by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, based in Fort Rucker, Alabama.