Taylor Gavin identified as U.S. soldier killed in Iraq; helicopter crash under investigation
The Army aviator killed during a helicopter crash in northern Iraq was officially identified as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor Gavin of Spokane, Washington, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.
The senior non-commissioned officer assigned to the vaunted 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and his air crew were returning from a counterterrorism operation near Iraq’s Ninevah province when his helicopter crashed near Sinjar, according to a Pentagon statement issued Tuesday.
Chief Warrant Officer Gavin was the only U.S. fatality during the incident. The three other U.S. service members who were wounded in the crash are in stable condition and are undergoing treatment for their injuries, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said Monday. He declined to comment on whether any Iraqi forces were injured or killed in the crash, or if they were even present during the operation, carried out as part of the U.S.-led mission to defeat the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS.
At the time of his death, Chief Warrant Officer Gavin was on his fourth deployment with U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq battling ISIS, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. He had also served two previous tours in the country, during Operation Iraqi Freedom and three more with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to officials with the 160th SOAR.
The famed Army aviation unit has taken part in countless special operations missions across the globe since its creation in 1981. Most recently, the unit gained notoriety for its participation in the May 2011 Navy SEAL operation that ended with the death of terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
Chief Warrant Officer Gavin is the third member of the 160th to die in less than a year. Staff Sgt. Emil Rivera-Lopez was killed when a Black Hawk crashed off the coast of Yemen last August, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jacob Sims died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Logar province last October, Stars and Stripes reported.
The incident leading to Chief Warrant Officer Gavin’s death is currently under investigation.