Helicopter Training Results In Crash And Death Of 2 Guardsmen

By Ethan Cole on
 February 28, 2024

A routine training flight turns tragic with the loss of two National Guardsmen.

Two members of the National Guard met with a fatal accident in a military helicopter crash in northeast Mississippi.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m. in a densely wooded area near Booneville, Prentiss County. The crash has deeply affected the local community and stirred responses from figures of national prominence.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, 42, served at a Mississippi National Guard Army aviation support facility in Tupelo, Mississippi. Their dedication and commitment to their roles earned them high regard from peers and superiors.

Investigation Underway and Nation Feels the Loss

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation. Details are scarce as authorities work to understand what led to this unfortunate event.

Meanwhile, tributes have started pouring in for the deceased guardsmen, marking the loss of valued members of the military community. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was among the first to respond, expressing his condolences and highlighting the service of the personnel involved.

Maj. Gen. Janson Boyles, commanding general of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard, echoed the governor's sentiments in a heartfelt statement about the loss faced by the National Guard community.

Today is a devastating day for the Mississippi National Guard as we mourn the loss of two of our brave brothers in arms. This accident serves as a constant reminder of the selfless service, sacrifice, and commitment that our brave servicemen and women face while performing in the line of duty.

Each of the deceased had a distinguished role within their units. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek served with distinction as an AH-64 Delta Apache standardization instructor pilot in Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment.

His colleague, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, brought his expertise as a maintenance test pilot to Delta Company of the 2nd Battalion, 151st Lakota Medical Evacuation Unit.

Expressions of Sympathy and Solidarity

Their untimely departure has left a void that will be hard to fill. President Joe Biden also publicly acknowledged the loss, offering condolences and affirming his administration's support for the bereaved families and the National Guard community.

The president's statement emphasized the higher principles of honor and commitment that motivate the servicemen and women of the United States. It reassured the families of the deceased that their loved ones' sacrifices are recognized and honored at the highest levels of government.

President Biden's words resonate with a nation that understands the cost of freedom and service.


The helicopter crash in Mississippi not only marks a tragic day for the families of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott but also serves as a somber reminder of the risks undertaken by those who serve in our military.

As the investigation proceeds, the community, the state, and the nation join in mourning and honoring the memory of these soldiers. Their commitment to their duties, their exceptional service, and their ultimate sacrifice reflect the values that define the best of our military forces.


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