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Idaho National Guard releases names of three guardsmen killed in helicopter crash


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From left to right, CW4 Jesse Anderson, 43; CW3 George “Geoff” Laubhan, 39; and CW3 Matthew Peltzer, 43, | Courtesy Idaho National Guard

BOISE — The Idaho National Guard has released the identities of the three guardsmen killed in a helicopter crash Tuesday night.

The three pilots onboard the UH-60 Black Hawk that crash south of Lucky Peak were CW4 Jesse Anderson, 43; CW3 George “Geoff” Laubhan, 39; and CW3 Matthew Peltzer, 43, according to an Idaho National Guard news release.

Anderson, Laubhan and Peltzer were on a routine training mission in the Three-Point Mountain area. At 7:45 p.m., the crew contacted flight operations and said they were returning to Boise. Fifteen minutes later, the helicopter’s emergency transmitter went active, promptly launching a search and rescue operation for the helicopter and three guardsmen.

RELATED | Details released regarding fatal Idaho National Guard helicopter crash

While poor weather hampered the search operation for a few hours, shortly after midnight Wednesday, search teams found the crashed helicopter along with the bodies of Anderson, Laubhan and Peltzer.

Anderson lived in Boise and served as a senior instructor pilot. He joined the Idaho Army National Guard in 2008 and is survived by his wife and four children.

Laubhan also lived in Boise with his wife and two children. He joined the Idaho Army National Guard in 2010 and served as an instructor pilot.

Peltzer of Nampa joined the Idaho Army National Guard and flew helicopters as a pilot. He too, is survived by his wife and two children.

The sudden and tragic loss of three of our fellow guardsmen is extremely heartbreaking to every member of the Idaho National Guard Family,” Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, commander of the Idaho National Guard, said at a news conference on Wednesday. “I have received numerous messages of condolence from many people here in Idaho and throughout the nation. All of your thoughts, prayers and support are sincerely appreciated and much needed.”

The Idaho National Guard and the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team spent Wednesday recovering the bodies of the fallen soldiers. The crash reportedly happened in an area with mountainous terrain.

While the cause of the crash has not been determined, it is known that the three pilots did not send any distress signal in the moments leading up to the crash. The weather had also been poor at the time of the crash, but officials are not speculating on a cause and are looking at all possibilities.

With the Army’s Aviation safety investigators arriving Thursday afternoon, the Idaho National Guard has suspended all flight operations until it is deemed safe to fly.

Funerals for Anderson, Laubhan and Peltzer have not yet been announced.