New Jersey soldier one of two military mechanics to die n Black Hawk chopper accident off California coast

A New Jersey soldier was one of two helicopter mechanics who died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash off the coast of California, the U.S. military said today.

Staff Sgt. Vincent P. Marketta, 33, of Brick, NJ, and Sgt. Tyler M. Shelton, 22, of San Bernardino, Calif., were killed late Thursday on San Clemente Island, which is controlled by the US Navy and used as a training facility for elite units, such as the SEALs. Both soldiers were assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), which is based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Three others were injured in the nighttime special operations unit, but their names have not been released by the military.

‘The loss of Staff Sgt. Marketta and Sgt. Shelton has left a scar in this Regiment that will never completely heal,’ said Col. Andrew R. Graham, commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne).

The Army did not release any information about the crash. Five soldiers were on the aircraft when it went down Thursday, a Defense Department official with knowledge of the incident told the San Diego Union-Tribune. 

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