Military IDs Chopper Crash Victims

The two Marine Cobra pilots were pronounced dead at the scene

By Sarah Grieco and Chuck Westerheide
|  Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011  |  Updated 3:45 PM PDT
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Fire Erupts Following Chopper Crash

North County Times

The Marine pilots were flying the AH-1W "Cobra" when it went down on Monday afternoon.

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Fire Erupts Following Chopper Crash

Two people were killed in a helicopter crash at Camp Pendleton Monday morning.
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All flights not directly related to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on Camp Pendelton have been grounded due to a helicopter crash that killed two Marines on Monday.

The stand-down is not due to a lack of confidence in crews or the aircraft, rather officials are taking the time to go over safety policies and procedures, a Marine spokesperson said.

The two military personnel who were killed in a helicopter crash on Monday afternoon have been identified.

Capt. Jeffrey Bland and 1st Lt. Thomas Heitmann were pronounced dead on the scene following the incident.

Both men were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Bland is a Champaign, Ill. native who was commissioned in the Marine Corps on June 10, 1997. His personal decorations include two Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Air Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and the Korean Defense Service Medal.

Heitmann is a Mendota, Ill. native who was commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 5, 2008. His personal decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

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