A Perham man was one of three soldiers identified in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash that took the lives of the entire crew on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Charles P. Nord, chief warrant officer two, was conducting a routine maintenance flight with fellow soldiers Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr. and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg. The flight originated from the St. Cloud Regional Airport. According to a release by the Minnesota National Guard, shortly after takeoff, the pilots initiated a mayday call and contact was lost with the aircraft. Local emergency responders initiated a search-and-rescue operation and located the downed aircraft southwest of St. Cloud at 4:15 p.m.

On Friday, a safety investigation team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, headquartered in Fort Rucker, Alabama, was dispatched to lead the investigation into the incident with an anticipated arrival to St. Cloud on Saturday.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the fallen soldiers,” said Col. Joseph Sharkey, Minnesota National Guard director of communications. “We’d like to also thank the many first responders who assisted at the scene yesterday for their tireless efforts and continued support.”

The incident continues to be under investigation.

Nord was born June 6, 1989, in Breckenridge. He graduated from Perham High School in 2007. He enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard on Aug. 24, 2007, as an M1 armor crewman. In 2016, he became a warrant officer as a UH-60 Black Hawk aeromedical evacuation pilot. In May, he returned from a nine-month deployment with the Minnesota National Guard’s Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion to Kuwait, where the unit provided aerial medical evacuation in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve. 

Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, issued the following statement upon confirmation that Nord was among the three Minnesota National Guard soldiers who died in a helicopter crash near Kimball on Thursday. 

“By all accounts, Mr. Nord took exceptional pride in serving the people of our state and nation and his loss is a tragic reminder of the risks our men and women of the armed forces take every day to protect us, whether it’s overseas or right here at home,” Nornes said. “Our hearts and prayers are with Mr. Nord and his two fellow guardsmen who also perished in Thursday’s crash, and with the friends and families of all three soldiers during this time of mourning.”

He leaves behind his wife, Kaley, 2-year-old daughter, Lydia, and their expected child. He was a resident of Perham.

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