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U.S. Army Helicopter Forced Down in Iraq; Crew OK

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2003 – A U.S. Army helicopter made a hard landing near Fallujah, Iraq, today, according to U.S. Central Command.

The helicopter's pilot and co-pilot were able to walk away from their OH-58D Kiowa observation aircraft after making an emergency landing south of Fallujah, CENTCOM spokesman Marine Maj. Pete Mitchell said.

Mitchell initially reported that the Kiowa might have been forced to land "due to hostile fire." A subsequent CENTCOM news release confirmed that the aircraft had come under enemy fire.

The downed helicopter belongs to the 1st Battalion, 82nd Aviation Brigade (Attack), according to the CENTCOM release. It was conducting a reconnaissance/security mission for the 82nd Airborne Division when it was forced down.

The 82nd quickly dispatched a quick reaction force to secure the Kiowa's crew, according to CENTCOM.

The Army is conducting a formal investigation of the incident.

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