Retired soldier remembers Guardsmen who died in helicopter crash - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Retired soldier remembers Guardsmen who died in helicopter crash

(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
Mark Henry Sr. (Source: WAFB) Mark Henry Sr. (Source: WAFB)
Charlie company of 244th aviation battalion in Iraqi freedom 2003-2005 (Source: Mark Henry Sr.) Charlie company of 244th aviation battalion in Iraqi freedom 2003-2005 (Source: Mark Henry Sr.)
METAIRIE, LA (WAFB) -

One man who worked with three of the four National Guardsmen killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed last week shared his memories of them.

The four soldiers, along with 7 Marines, were working a night-time training mission on March 10 when something went wrong. None of the eleven servicemen survived.

On board were Staff Sergeants Lance Bergeron and Thomas Florich as well as Chief Warrant Officers George Griffin, Jr. and David Strother. They were part of the 1-244th, based out of Hammond.

"When your fears are confirmed, that it was actually someone you knew," said Henry about finding out who was in the crash.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Henry St. retired from the La National Guard in 2006, specifically from the 244th Aviation Battalion. The same unit as the four men killed in the Black Hawk.

Henry served with Griffin, Strother and Bergeron in Iraq and post-Katrina.

"Just knowing that these guys have been through the same thing you have, it's just belonging to the group," said Henry.

Henry said they were dedicated soldiers with a wealth of experience, who loved serving their country.

"They're usually the first to step up you know, when volunteers are asked to do anything," said Henry. "Excellent at their jobs, constant professionals about being in the military and just as friends outside of the military standpoint, always there with a joke or laugh."

Henry described the trio as guys who would do anything for you and were the best of friends.

"I flew with Wayne Griffin directly after Katrina," said Henry. "Lance was always there helping out whenever he could. When he wasn't working, he was usually cracking jokes about somebody."

Henry says Griffin and Strother were the pilots of the Black Hawk when it went down saying both were highly trained and experienced men. Now, he wants to hold onto any memories he can, like the last words they said.

"For David, it was always, I love you man and he would wait for that reply," said Henry.

Funeral arrangements have not been set. A memorial fund has been set up to help the families of the fallen National Guardsmen.

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