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US Air Force helicopter shot at over Virginia, one crew member injured

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A U.S. Air Force UH-1N helicopter took small arms fire while flying near Manassas, Virginia, on Monday. The shot from the ground injured one crew member and forced the helicopter to conduct an emergency landing at Manassas Regional Airport just west of Washington, DC.

“A UH-1N Huey helicopter assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews conducted an emergency landing at 12:43 pm on August 10th in Manassas, Va during a routine training mission,” the official Air Force statement read. 

“The Office of Special Investigations is fully engaged with our FBI colleagues on this incident. OSI take threats to our Airmen and our resources very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation, no further investigative details can be released at this time.”

helicopter shot at
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws)

The pilots of the UH-1N Twin Huey, operating under the callsign Mussel 16, could be heard reporting a medical emergency to Air Traffic Control shortly after taking fire from an unseen position on the ground Monday morning. Paramedics were dispatched to meet the helicopter as it landed safely.

Thus far, few details surrounding the incident have been released by the Defense Department, and it has not been determined if the shooter intended to hit the helicopter or if the gunfire was random.

“On Monday, August 10, at approximately 12:00 p.m., the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) dispatched Special Agents and its Evidence Response Team to the Manassas Airport after receiving reports that a helicopter was shot at from the ground nearby,” the FBI Washington Field Office said in a statement to CNN.

The crew aboard Mussel 16 were flying a routine training mission over Middleburg, VA on Monday morning when they reported being struck by a bullet fired from an unseen ground position. According to Air Force statements, the helicopter was flying approximately 1,000 feet off the ground when it was hit.

The name of the crew member that was injured in the shooting has not been released, but according to Air Force officials the Airman was treated and has already been released from the hospital, indicating that the injuries were likely not that severe.

While reports remain sparse, it seems that the helicopter was only struck with a single round, but it is unclear if they were fired upon more than once. The Air Force reports that damage to the aircraft was minimal.

Investigators in the area are asking for any witnesses to contact the FBI.

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Alex Hollings

Alex Hollings is a writer, dad, and Marine veteran.