Black Hawk Helicopter Crashes At Texas A&M


As of January 20



A memorial service will be held for 2nd Lt. Zachary Cook ’08 at 5 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 20) in Rudder Auditorium.



Lt. Cook, 22, was a native of Lufkin and a December 2008 graduate of Texas A&M who lost his life when a Texas National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in which he was a passenger, crashed Jan. 12 shortly after takeoff from Duncan Field.






Texas A&M president Elsa Murano spoke at the memorial.














As of 9:20 a.m., Jan. 16




Campus Memorial Set Tuesday for Aggie Killed in Helicopter Crash




 A memorial service will be held for 2nd Lt. Zachary Cook ’08 at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20 in Rudder Auditorium on the Texas A&M campus.



Lt. Cook, 22, was a native of Lufkin and a December 2008 graduate of Texas A&M University who lost his life when a Texas National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in which he was a passenger, crashed on Monday, Jan. 12, shortly after takeoff from Duncan Field.



The helicopter, along with 190 cadets in the Army ROTC program, that is part of the university’s Corps of Cadets, was participating in the program’s Winter Field Training Exercises.



Lt. Cook was a newly commissioned Army officer on temporary assignment with the ROTC cadre at Texas A&M University. The cadets will conduct a corps formation to march to the auditorium.



Members of Lt. Cook’s former corps unit, Company D-1, along with the Parsons Mounted Calvary and the ROTC cadre, will participate in the ceremony. Texas A&M President Elsa A. Murano also will make brief remarks. Lt. Cook’s family will be in attendance.



Seating for the service begins at 4:30 p.m. and it is open to the public.







As of 2 p.m.,January 15



Funeral Services Set For Zach Cook




The viewing will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday (Jan. 16) at the Gipson Metcalf Funeral Home in Lufkin Texas.  Flowers and cards can be sent to the funeral home at:




Gipson Metcalf Funeral Home


1515 S Chestnut St


Lufkin, TX 75901


(936) 634-4411






The funeral will be conducted at First Baptist Church in Lufkin beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 17).  The graveside ceremony will be conducted at the Garden of Memories Memorial Park.  The addresses for the Church and Cemetery are:




First Baptist Church


106 E. Bremond Ave


Lufkin, TX 75901


(936) 634-3386




Garden of Memories Memorial Park


5202 South First Street


Lufkin, TX






As of 12:20 p.m., January 15



Texas Military Forces






Texas National Guard Soldier succumbs to injuries from crash




CAMP MABRY, Austin, Texas—(16 Jan, 2009)  Staff Sgt. Charles C. Mitts, 42, assigned to C Co., 1/108th Avn. Reg., from Spring, Texas, passed away last night from injuries sustained in a crash that occurred in College Station.




The aircraft crashed at Duncan Field, Texas A&M University on Monday 12 Jan 2009, at approximately 3 pm.




It is with great sadness that the Texas Military Forces has to inform the media and the public of his passing.    We would like to thank all our friends, neighbors and civilian partners for their continued prayers and well wishes during this very difficult time.   You have stood by us ever since the crash occurred and we are thankful.




We respectfully ask that our media partners not contact the family and give them and his Texas Military Forces family a short period to mourn the loss of this fallen hero. We will issue a follow-on statement tomorrow.




TEL. (512) 782-5050                  Public Affairs Office, P.O. Box 5218, Austin, Texas 78763              FAX (512) 782-5586






As of 5 p.m., January 13



1st Lt. Ellis W. Taylor, 31, who was listed as injured but stable in the Texas Military News story, is a former student who served in the Corps of Cadets from fall 1995 to spring 1999. While he did not graduate, he served in company E-1 as a student.




As of 4:35 p.m., January 13



News release from: Texas Military Forces NEWS








BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas– A Texas National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff at Duncan Field at Texas A&M University, during a routine mission flight shuttling cadets from the university to Camp Swift, Texas.




One active-duty Soldier was killed in the crash, and four National Guard Soldiers were injured.




2nd Lt. Zachary Cook, 22, a native of Lufkin, Texas and a December 2008 graduate of the Texas A&M University, was killed in the incident.  Lt. Cook was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadre at Texas A&M University.




The Soldiers injured in the incident were 1st Lt. Ellis W. Taylor, 31, B Co., 449th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB), from Buda, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew J. Smith, 41, C Co., 1/108th Avn. Reg., from Leander, Texas; Sgt. Richard D. Ravenscraft, 24, 71st Brigade Forward Support Bn. (BFSB), from Austin, Texas; and Sgt. Charles C. Mitts, 42, C Co., 1/108th Avn. Reg., from Spring, Texas.




 Chief Smith and Sgt. Mitts are listed in critical condition.  Lt. Ellis and Sgt. Ravenscraft are listed in stable condition.




 Lt. Ellis, Chief Smith and Sgt. Mitts deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from 2006 to 2007.  Sgt. Ravenscraft deployed in support of OIF in 2007, returning in 2008. 




 Both C Co., 108th Avn. Reg. and 449th ASB are based at the National Guard armory at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas.  The 71st BFSB is located in Austin, Texas.




“Our entire Texas National Guard community extends heartfelt sympathies to the family of Lt. Zachary Cook, who died yesterday afternoon in the helicopter crash at Texas A&M University,” said Lt. Gen. Charles G. Rodriguez, commander of the Texas Military Forces.



“We also extend our sympathies and respects to Texas A&M University, its Corps of Cadets, the U.S. Army Cadet Command and Bryan/College Station emergency services for their selfless devotion to duty and professional response yesterday.”




“Our efforts now are to meet the needs of the families of our four injured Texas Army National Guard soldiers and to ensure that they are supported in every way. Prayers are lifted now to guide the medical professionals attending to our injured soldiers and for their recovery,” said Gen. Rodriguez.




The accident is under investigation by the Combat Readiness/Safety Center, Ft. Rucker, Ala., home of the U.S. Army Aviation Center.




Public Affairs Office, P.O. Box 5218, Austin, Texas 78763


TEL. (512) 782-5620, FAX (512) 782-586






As of 3:42 p.m., January 13



Photo of Lt. Zachary Cook taken Dec. 11, 2008 when he was commissioned into the armed forces during commencement ceremonies at Texas A&M.

















As of 3 p.m., January 13



While the accident investigation is ongoing, it is being conducted by numerous state and federal agencies. The lead organization in the investigation is the Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama.



As of 2:30 p.m., January 13


Press Release from Headquarters, U.S. Army Cadet Command — Fort
Monroe, Virginia 23651-5000

Army lieutenant killed in helicopter crash at Texas A&M – College

An Army lieutenant assigned to U.S. Army Cadet Command was
killed on January 12, 2009 during a training exercise.

Second Lt. Zachary Cook, a member of the Army ROTC Cadre at
Texas A&M University – College Station, was aboard a Texas Army
National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter that crashed shortly after
take off.  The crash occurred at Duncan Field on the campus of Texas A &
M University – College Station on the afternoon of January 12, 2009. The
other four occupants of the helicopter at the time of the crash are
members of the Texas Army National Guard.  Those four Soldiers were
injured in the accident.

This helicopter was participating in a Winter Field Training
Exercise being conducted by the Army ROTC unit at Texas A&M – College
Station.  No Army ROTC cadets were aboard the aircraft at the time of
the crash.

Cook, a native of Lufkin, Texas, was a recent graduate of the
Texas A&M – College Station Army ROTC program and a graduate of Lufkin
High School.

The incident is under investigation by Army authorities.



For more information Please contact – Paul Kotakis
Telephone (757) 788-4610
Email address   




As of 12:10 p.m., January 13



Students who need assistance during this difficult time are urged to contact the Student Counseling Center. The center is located in Room B103 in Cain Hall or call (979) 845-4427 any time during business hours Monday through Friday. After business hours, call the center’s HelpLine at 845-2700.



Faculty and staff should contact the Employee Assistance Program. Appointments with professional counselors can be scheduled by calling 979-845-3711, Monday through Friday.  EAP is located off-campus at 3608 E. 29th Street, Suite 101, Executive Plaza, Bryan.




As of 11 a.m., January 13



No currently enrolled students were onboard when the crash occurred. The helicopter was headed to Texas A&M’s Easterwood Airport to refuel as part of the training exercises.  




As of 10:15 a.m., January 13



One of the five crew members, originally thought to be a member of the ROTC staff at Texas A&M, was a newly commissioned Army officer and was on temporary assignment with the Army ROTC program at Texas A&M.  He was onboard the helicopter as part of the exercise. Any additional information will be released by the Army.





As of 9 a.m., January 13



Traffic Closure Due to Accident




Transportation Services officials say that, due to the helicopter accident on Duncan Field, Throckmorton and Coke Streets are closed between Lewis Street and George Bush Drive until further notice. East bound Lewis Street is also closed at this time.





As of 6:15 p.m., January 12



Message from President Elsa Murano




To: Texas A&M students, faculty and staff




The entire Aggie family is deeply saddened following the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter at Duncan Field on the Texas A&M University campus at about 3 p.m. today (Jan. 12).




Our thoughts and prayers go to the crew members involved in this tragedy, and especially to the family and friends of the crew member who reportedly died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.




The University’s Code Maroon emergency notification system was activated shortly after the crash. While students, faculty, staff and local residents were never in imminent danger, it was important to instruct people to avoid the area so that emergency responders and law enforcement personnel could secure the area and do their jobs.




Those on the scene at the time of the crash reported that the helicopter, which was participating with 190 members of our Corps of Cadets in ROTC Winter Field Training Exercises, fell to the ground shortly after lift-off.




Updated information will be posted to the Texas A&M Web site ( ) as it becomes available.




Dr. Elsa A. Murano








As of 6 p.m., January 12



One student, a member of the Corps of Cadets, was reported slightly injured by flying debris during the crash. The name of this student is not yet available.  



The Field Training Exercise, which has been conducted by Texas A&M’s ROTC unit for more than 20 years, included squad and platoon level tactics, patrolling and simulated combat in urban areas. 



The exercise included Rudder’s Rangers, Texas A&M’s elite cadet organization that was founded in the 1970s to train cadets to master the skills of a light infantryman. 



The helicopters were being used as a transportation means to move the cadets from the Texas A&M campus to Camp Swift, located in Bastrop, Texas. 




As of 4:22 p.m., January 12




       One fatality has been confirmed.






As of 4:08 p.m. , January 12




1.    Five were on board, no students, however one individual is from Texas A&M’s ROTC staff.


2.    All injured have now been transported – patients taken to both hospitals (St. Joseph’s and The College Station Medical Center).


3.    College Station Fire Department and University Police Department are in unified command on scene.


4.    Debris field covers much of Duncan Field, as well as Throckmorton and Lewis Streets.  Those streets will remain closed for some time.


5.    Bryan mobile command post is on scene for use in extended operations.


6.    All branches of local law enforcement agencies are on scene 





As of 3:45 p.m., January 12




            An Army ROTC helicopter crashed at approximately 3 p.m. Monday (Jan. 12) on Duncan Field, an open field adjacent to Duncan Dining Hall, on the campus of Texas A&M University.



            The Army UH-60 Black Hawk had a crew of five on board, including four members of the Army National Guard and one member of the ROTC staff at Texas A&M who is a recent graduate. The helicopter was reportedly taking off when it fell abruptly back to the ground.




             The crew has been transported to local medical facilities for treatment and no word is yet available as to their condition.



              The helicopter, along with 190 cadets in the university’s Corps of Cadets, were participating in the ROTC Winter Field Training Exercises taking place at the university.



            Please return to for ongoing updates.


More: Topics

Follow Texas A&M