Officials honor Mississippi National Guardsmen killed in Apache crash

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Officials held a procession Monday for two Mississippi National Guardsmen who died Friday in a helicopter crash.

The ceremony began at a hospital in Booneville, Mississippi, near where the helicopter plummeted into a wooded area during a training flight. It continued south along Highway 45 to Pearl, where autopsies will be conducted. The two Guardsmen, Officer Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Officer Derek Joshua Abbott, 42, were both Mississippi natives and had won several awards for their service.

“These two Guardsmen embodied the very best of our nation — bound by honor, and committed to service,” President Joe Biden said in a written statement over the weekend. “We will continue to keep our solemn promise to care for their families, just as they were faithful to our nation.”

The Mississippi National Guard said Zemek had been serving as a standardization instructor pilot. He is survived by his wife of three years and their four children. Abbott had been a maintenance test pilot. He is survived by his wife of 18 years and their three children.

The helicopter was an AH-64 Apache “flying a routine training flight,” the Mississippi National Guard said after the crash. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, said the accident is under investigation and did not offer additional details.

“This accident serves as a constant reminder of the selfless service, sacrifice, and commitment that our brave service men and women face while performing in the line of duty,” Boyles said in a written statement.

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