Navy Helicopter Crewmembers Identified

Story Number: NNS090521-28Release Date: 5/21/2009 9:55:00 PM
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From Commander Naval Air Forces Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The names of the five Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 6 aircrew involved in the crash of a Navy HH-60 Seahawk helicopter the evening of May 19 were released May 21.

They are:

- Lt. Cmdr. Eric J. Purvis, 37, of Poway, Calif.
- Lt. Allison M. Oubre, 27, of Slidell, La.
- Naval Air Crewman 1st Class (AW/NAC) Samuel "Grant" Kerslake, 41, of Hot Springs, Ark.
- Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class (AW/NAC) Aaron L. Clingman, 25, of Bend, Ore.
- Naval Air Crewman 3rd Class (AW/NAC) Sean M. Ward, 20, of Lovelock, Nev.

The bodies of three crewmembers were recovered from the crash area May 20 during search and rescue (SAR) operations conducted by assets from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, San Diego Harbor Police, Customs and Border Protection and the Mexican Navy.

Earlier May 21, officials concluded that aircrew survivability was extremely unlikely and suspended those SAR efforts. The Navy's search efforts are now focused on the feasibility of salvage operations.

The helicopter crashed into the ocean while conducting training operations during a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX).

HS-6 is homeported in San Diego and is part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 assigned to the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG). The helicopter was operating from USS Nimitz (CVN 68) when the mishap occurred.

The mishap is under investigation.

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