ST. CLOUD, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard identified the men who were killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.
They are Chief Warrant Officers 2nd Class James A. Rogers, Jr., 28, and Charles P. Nord, 30, and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28.
The Guard tweeted that the three soldiers were part of a unit that returned last May from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who served in the Guard for 24 years, released a statement: "On behalf of all Minnesotans, we offer our deepest sympathies to the families of these warriors," said Governor Tim Walz. "They paid the ultimate price and service to Minnesota and to the United States of America. Words will never ease the pain of this tragic loss and the state of Minnesota is forever in the debt of these warriors."
Walz ordered flag to be flown at half-staff at state and federal buildings throughout Minnesota from 2:05 p.m. Friday until 2:05 p.m. Monday. That was the time on Thursday when the Guard lost contact with the crew.