Mankato soldier killed during helicopter crash in Mediterranean Sea

Mankato soldier killed during helicopter crash in Mediterranean Sea

Mankato soldier killed during helicopter crash in Mediterranean Sea

A Mankato man has been identified as one of the five U.S. Army Special Operations aviation soldiers who were killed during a helicopter crash in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Department of Defense (DOD) has confirmed that 24-year-old Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe died as a result of the crash, which happened Friday.

Officials say the crash happened when an MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was “conducting aerial refueling training” and wasn’t the result of any enemy or hostile actions. It happened not far from where the U.S. deployed the USS Ford and USS Eisenhower aircraft carriers following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The DOD said Wolfe enlisted in the Army in 2018 as a 15T UH-60 Black Hawk Repairer and was assigned to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii after he completed advanced individual training (AIT). He later served as an MH-60M Black Hawk crew chief.

Wolfe’s career includes multiple awards and decorations, including two Army Commendation Medals, an Army Achievement Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Medal, a Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, an Army Service Ribbon, an Overseas Service Ribbon and the Basic Aviation Badge.

“He died doing, what he really, really enjoyed and wanted to do,” Scott Wolfe, Cade’s father, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

“The last time I talked to him was on his birthday, on the eighth of November. . . . “I said, ‘Be safe son;’ He said, ‘I’ll try.’ That was the last time we heard,” Wolfe said.

Others remember Wolfe for his personality and sense of humor.

“He was a fun kid to have around,” said Holly Evans, one of Wolfe’s counselors at Mankato East High School. “Just really kind and nice, knew where he was heading and what he wanted to do.”

Evans says the staff knew Wolfe was bound to serve the country in the military after he graduated back in 2018.

“It’s definitely on our minds and hearts,” Evans said.

Before he left for the Army, the staff at Fitness for 10 posted a picture of Wolfe going to basic training. Wolfe’s family says he loved spending time working out at the Mankato gym.

“Cade always had a funny joke or comment about school, or something fun that happened with football, so it wasn’t a come in and work out, he wanted to get a good laugh out of everyone, then go work out,” Chad Ziemke, the general manager of the gym, said.

As for Wolfe’s father, he hopes others will remember those who protect and serve this country.

“Just support the military, and thoughts and prayers for all the military men and women out there serving our great country,” he said.

In addition, Gov. Tim Walz ordered all United States and Minnesota flags to fly at half-staff at all state buildings in the state of Minnesota until sunset on Monday.

“Minnesota is deeply saddened by the loss of Sgt. Cade Michael Wolfe, a Minnesotan who dedicated himself to selflessly serving our nation and keeping our country safe,” said Gov. Walz. “With deep gratitude, Minnesota recognizes Sgt. Cade Michael Wolfe for his dedicated service to, and sacrifice for, his state and country. His family, loved ones, and community are in our prayers.”

The other soldiers who died in the crash were identified as:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38 of Clarksville, Tennessee
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, California
  • Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26, of Gorham, New Hampshire
  • Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Apache Junction, Arizona

Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga shared the following statement on the incident:

This is devastating news that reverberates across the entire Special Operations community. Every loss is tough, but in this case, service to the Nation is truly a family business and it’s hard to express the amount of sorrow that we all feel right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, their loved ones, and their fellow soldiers. Like the Special Operations community always does, we will wrap our arms around them, grieve with them, and promise to never forget them.

Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command

The DOD said the U.S. Army’s Combat Readiness Center is investigating the incident.