Big Pine Key, Florida, USA
United States Army
CW3, 2nd Squad, 6th Cavalry, of the 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment
10/09/2001 Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland
V Corps held a fallen soldier ceremony at the Ziemsko airfield in western Poland on Thursday for pilot Michael E. Reece, 36, who died when his Apache attack helicopter crashed during a training exercise.
Troops saluted as Reece’s flag-draped casket was carried past them by members of his unit. Taps was played by the 76th Army band. Chief Warrant Officer II Robert W. Rugg, who was injured in the crash, was the last man in line to salute as the body of his fellow pilot was loaded aboard the Chinook helicopter to be brought back to Germany, said V Corps spokeswoman Alison Bettencourt.
Chief Warrant Officer III Reece was killed Tuesday when his helicopter crashed during a simulated attack on enemy missile and radar emplacements. The cause of the crash has not been released, and military experts from Fort Rucker, Ala., were scheduled to arrive Thursday evening to aid in the investigation.
The Apache crew of two are both pilots, and it has not yet been released who was flying the helicopter that crashed.
Both pilots were part of the 2nd Squad, 6th Cavalry, of the 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment, based in Illesheim, Germany. The unit is part of V Corps, based in Heidelberg, Germany.
The three-week exercise at the Drawsko Pomorskie and Wedrzyn training grounds in Poland, about 80 miles east of Berlin, was put on hold for the day to give Reece’s fellow soldiers time to mourn, Bettencourt said. Apache live-fire exercises were expected to go as planned on Friday, and the exercise concludes Saturday.
Reece, of Big Pine Key, Florida, is survived by his wife, two children, and his parents.