4 Guardsmen Involved in Crash Identified

Four Louisiana National Guardsmen who died during a training accident in Florida last week have been identified. The Louisiana National Guard made the announcement today in New Orleans. All four were based with the first assault helicopter battalion, 244th aviation regimen out of Hammond.

Authorities confirm one of the men who died is from Alexandria. He’s 44-year-old David Strother. He served in the Louisiana National Guard from 1988 to 2007 and again from 2009 until his death. He has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.  He also served during state deployments for hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Isaac.

Strother is survived by his wife, son, step-daughter, and mother.

37 year old Chief Warrant Officer George Wayne Griffin of Delhi, 40 year old Staff Sergeant Lance Bergeron of Thibodaux and 26-year-old Staff Sergeant Thomas Florich of Fairfax County Virginia were also killed.

Major General Glenn H. Curtis said, “This has been a difficult few days for really the entire Department of Defense but I know for the Marine Corps and Louisiana National Guard in particular. There have been numerous thoughts, prayers, vigils that people have offered for us and for their families and I would like to thank everyone for their very generous outpouring.”

Seven marines also died last Tuesday when their helicopter crashed in the Florida panhandle. That crash is under investigation. Flags will be flown at half-staff until March 20th to honor their service.

KLAX ABC 31 News 3/16/15