GORHAM, N.H. — A U.S. Army soldier from New Hampshire who was one of five aviation special operations forces killed when their helicopter crashed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea was remembered Saturday as a devoted family member, friend and leader.
Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 25, of Gorham, was on board the MH-60 helicopter on Nov. 10 when it went down during an air refueling mission as part of military training. The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center is investigating the crash.
“We will hold onto the memories we have of our little boy that grew up to be a man and never forget the ultimate sacrifice he made for this country,” Grone’s mother, Erica Grone, told the crowd during his funeral service at the Gorham Middle High School gymnasium.
Grone enlisted in the Army in 2017 as a UH-60 repairer. He served as a flight instructor and MH-60M crew chief for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, known as the “Night Stalkers.”
Grone was deployed to Afghanistan and multiple times to Iraq, and he was awarded the Air Medal with Combat device, the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with combat device among many other awards.
Tanner had planned to apply for flight school, which would have taken him to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where his grandfather served, according to his obituary.
Tanner’s father, Steve Grone, said in remarks read at the ceremony that fellow soldiers who served with Tanner spoke of his trademark smirk. They also described him as a consummate professional during a mission and as a “badass.”
“We have been told of a few things that he did on some of his missions, and we are in awe of what he became, the experiences he had,” Steve Grone said. “He lived life more in his short time with us than most of us do in a lifetime.”
The fatal helicopter crash was the second involving a unit based at Fort Campbell this year. In March, two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters assigned to the 101st Airborne Division collided during a nighttime training flight, killing all nine soldiers aboard.
Fort Campbell is home to multiple Army aviation units. The 160th group has almost 3,000 soldiers and 200 aircraft assigned to it.
Editor’s note: This story by the Associated Press originally reported that the aircraft was a UH-60. It has been updated prior to publication to note that it was an MH-60.
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