Navy Ready to Recover Army Black Hawk in Eastern Mediterranean

December 5, 2023 12:44 PM
An undated photo of NS Worker

A Navy salvage crew is preparing their gear in Italian port to recover a U.S. Army special operations helicopter that crashed last month in the Eastern Mediterranean, U.S. 6th fleet announced this week.
The service contracted the Italian offshore support vessel NG Worker to embark a team from the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving to recover the MH-60 Black Hawk assigned to the “Night Stalkers” of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

“Once on station, salvage experts will deploy a shallow water intermediate search system and towed pinger locator to search for the aircraft. The SWISS is a towed side-scan-sonar and the TPL is used to locate emergency relocation pingers on downed military and commercial aircraft. The TPL will use passive sensors to “listen” for the aircraft pinger’s frequency,” reads the Monday statement.
“Recovery of the aircraft will take place using the Deep Drone remote operated vehicle. Deep Drone is a 4,100-pound ROV designed to meet the Navy’s mid-water salvage requirements to a maximum depth of 8,000 feet. Every effort will be made to recover the aircraft and the fallen soldiers.”

The helicopter crashed during an aerial refueling over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea when it crashed with five soldiers aboard on Nov. 10.

(top row left to right) Chief Warrant Officer Three Stephen Dwyer, 38, of Clarksville, Tenn., Chief Warrant Officer Two Shane Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, Calif., Staff Sgt Tanner W. Grone, 25, of Gorham, N.H.
(bottom row left to right) Sgt Cade Wolfe, 24, of Mankato, Minn., Sgt Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Junction, Ariz.

The soldiers killed in the crash:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38, of Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, Calif.
  • Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26, of Gorham, N.H.
  • Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Apache Junction, Ariz.
  • Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24, of Mankato, Minn.

NG Worker and the salvage crew are set to embark form Augusta Bay, Sicily, in the “coming days,” according to a U.S. 6th fleet statement.

NG Worker was also part of the team that recovered a U.K. F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter that crashed in 2021 flying from the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R-08).

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox