The four Louisiana National Guardsmen who were killed in a helicopter crash on March 10 have been identified. Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr,; Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother; Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron and Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich; died when a Black Hawk they were riding on crashed into the Santa Rosa Sound, Florida.

Here are the bios (provided to us by the Louisiana National Guard) of each man, heroes who will forever be remembered:

 

Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr., 37

Members of the Louisiana National Guard's State Aviation Command present Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau with a flag dedication certificate at Jackson Barracks on Dec 7 commemorating his final UH60 Blackhawk flight. Landreneau is retiring this month after 14 years as the Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard. (Army Photo by Spc. David C. Kirtland/RELEASED)

Griffin, of Delhi, joined the Louisiana National Guard in 1994. He deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005 and again in 2008-2009. He also served during state deployments during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac as well as in support of Operations River Guardian and Deepwater Horizon.

Griffin commissioned as a warrant officer in 1999 before going on to become the battalion standardization pilot with over 6,000 flight hours, including more than 1,000 combat hours.

"G Wayne Griffin was born to be an Army Aviator,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Reggie Lane, commander of Detachment 38, Operational Support Airlift Command. “As one of the most talented and respected Warrant Officers in the Louisiana National Guard, he had a tremendous passion for flying, and a God-given natural ability to fly both helicopters and airplanes and to teach others to be the best aviators and crewmembers that they could be.

 

“He was a great friend and brother to all. With his loss, there will be a void that may never be filled."

Griffin is survived by his wife, four children and father.

Griffin’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (2nd Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (6th Award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Silver Hour Glass and M Device, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd Award), Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (4th Award), Louisiana War Cross (2nd Award), Louisiana Emergency Service Medal (3rd Award), Louisiana General Excellence Ribbon and Louisiana Longevity Ribbon. He had earned the Combat Action Badge, Senior Army Aviator Badge and Basic Aviation Badge.

 

Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother, 44

George Strother, La. Nat'l Guard

Strother, of Alexandria, served in the Louisiana National Guard from 1988-2007, and again from 2009 until his death. He deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005, Afghanistan in 2011 and Kosovo in 2014. He also served during state deployments for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac.

Strother commissioned as a warrant officer in 1994 before going on to become an instructor pilot with over 2,400 flight hours, including more than 700 combat hours.

"To describe Dave Strother as a big personality would not be accurate. He was more like a force of nature that could best be observed and marveled at, never opposed or altered,” said Maj. Andre Jeansonne, commander, F Co., 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment. “His huge heart touched the lives of all he met."

Strother is survived by his wife, son and step-daughter, and mother.

Strother’s awards and decorations include the Air Medal (3rd Award), Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (7th Award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Silver Hourglass and M Device, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd Award), NATO Medal, Louisiana War Cross (3rd Award), Louisiana Cold War Victory Ribbon, Louisiana Emergency Service Medal (3rd Award), Louisiana General Excellence Ribbon and  Louisiana Longevity Ribbon (4th Award). He had earned the Combat Action Badge and Master Aviator Badge.

 

Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron, 40

 

Lance Bergeron, La. Nat'l Guard

Bergeron, of Thibodeaux, enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in 1998 before joining the LANG in 2001 as a Black Hawk repairer. His extensive experience as a qualified enlisted flight instructor, graduate of the aircraft crewmember standardization instructor course, aircraft maintainer course, and warrior leader course made Bergeron a crew chief others aspired to be, according to members of his unit.

The combat veteran deployed to Iraq twice, in 2004-2005 and 2008-2009. Bergeron also served during state deployments for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Isaac and Operation River Guardian.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Brian Marquez, platoon sergeant, A Co., 1-244th AHB, Bergeron was one of the most qualified crew chiefs in the Guard, with more than 1,300 flight hours, including 377 combat hours.

"Lance was one of the most dedicated crew chiefs that I have ever had the pleasure of serving with during my leadership,” Marquez said. “As the senior most standardization crew chief instructor in the Battalion, he was a subject matter expert in his job who exhibited an excitement of learning new skills and educating new unit members on the UH-60 aircraft, pilots and crew chiefs alike.

“Lance was a very family oriented father and husband, and he impacted many in the ranks. He will be greatly missed."

Bergeron is survived by his wife, two children and his parents.

Bergeron’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Bronze Hour Glass and M Device, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd Award), Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (Navy), Louisiana War Cross (2nd Award), Louisiana Emergency Service Medal (3rd Award), Louisiana General Excellence Ribbon (3rd Award) and Louisiana Longevity Ribbon (2nd Award). He had also earned the Combat Action Badge and Senior Aviation Badge.

 

Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26

 

Thomas Florich, La. Nat'l Guard

Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, of Fairfax County, Virginia, enlisted in the LANG in 2007 as a Black Hawk repairer. He was posthumously promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant.

Florich served during state deployments for Operation Deepwater Horizon and Hurricane Isaac. He earned more than 125 flight hours and was a graduate of the warrior leader course.

"Tom was full of life, and his personality could light the room,” said Marquez. “He was ‘family’ with unit members and felt at home working with his brothers in Alpha Company.  His dedication to duty and loyalty was without equal, always ready to accept any mission and extra duty in order to help the unit meet the mission. He will be greatly missed by the unit and the flight facility."

Florich is survived by his wife, father and stepmother.

Florich’s awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, Louisiana Emergency Service Ribbon (2nd Award), Louisiana General Excellence Ribbon and Louisiana Longevity Ribbon. He had also earned the Basic Aviation Badge.