U.S. Navy photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Charles E. White.
A sailor was killed and another was injured in a ground mishap July 30 at Naval Air Station North Island, California, a Navy official confirmed on Tuesday.
Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class Jonathan Richard Clement died after an HH-60H Sea Hawk’s auxiliary fuel tank fell on him while the helicopter was on the tarmac, said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces. A second sailor was treated and released for minor injuries.
Flanders told Task & Purpose that he did not have any further information about the circumstances surrounding Clement’s death. Investigators are looking into exactly how the fuel tank fell off the helicopter.
Clement joined the Navy in June 2007; he became a petty officer 1st class on Oct. 16, 2016; and he had served with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron since July 2017, according to his Navy biography. His military awards include four Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Meal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon (Sharpshooter).
Military.com first reported on Tuesday that Clement had been killed in the July 30 accident and the Navy did not announce his death at the time.
Clement’s family was so distraught over his death that the Navy concluded it would be better to avoid publicizing the fatal accident, Flanders said. “A decision was made to spare the family any media attention so it was not released,” he said.
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee for Defense June 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The subcommittee hearing was held to discuss the fiscal year 2018 budget request for the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
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