FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — All U.S. Army aviation fights have been temporarily suspended.

Army Chief of Staff James McConville ordered an aviation stand down following two deadly helicopter crashes in the past month that killed 12 soldiers, the branch announced on April 28.

“The safety of our aviators is our top priority, and this stand down is an important step to make certain we are doing everything possible to prevent accidents and protect our personnel,” McConville said in a statement sent to ABC50. “During this stand down, we will focus on safety and training protocols to ensure our pilots and crews have the knowledge, training and awareness to safely complete their assigned mission.”

With the exception of those participating in critical missions, all Army aviation flights are suspended until aviators complete training, the Army said. For active-duty units, training is to take place between May 1 and May 5, 2023. Army National Guard and Reserve units will have until May 31 to complete training.

This impacts the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, a subordinate of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum. Units in the Brigade fly AH-64 Apache. CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Fort Drum Public Affairs Director Julie Halpin said the following in regard to the suspension:

flying” is only one aspect of an Aviation Brigade’s mission.  Academics, maintenance, and the plethora of training all our men and women in uniform must master regardless of their MOS is also on the daily docket.  Rest assured while our Aviation Brigade is meeting the intent of this guidance, the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s mission readiness is not degraded.

Julie Halpin, Fort Drum Public Affairs

During the stand down, the Army said it will review its risk approval and risk management process, aviation maintenance training program, aircrew training standardization and management and supervisory responsibility.

The Army also said it will assess the flight-mission briefing process and prioritize risk mitigation, crew selection, flight planning, crew and flight briefings, debriefings and after-action reviews.

On April 27, two AH-64 Apache helicopters collided near Healy, Alaska, which killed three soldiers and injured a fourth.

The aircraft from the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, was returning from training at the time of the crash, according to the Army. The unit is part of the 11th Airborne Division, which is nicknamed the “Arctic Angels.”

This was the second accident involving military helicopters in Alaska in 2023.

In February, two soldiers were injured when an Apache helicopter rolled after taking off from Talkeetna. The aircraft was one of four traveling to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage from Fort Wainwright.

Additionally, in March, nine soldiers died after two U.S. Army Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters crashed during a routine nighttime exercise about 30 miles northeast of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

“We are deeply saddened by those we have lost,” McConville said in regard to the crashes.  “It is their loss that makes it all the more important we review our safety procedures and training protocols, and ensure we are training and operating at the highest levels of safety and proficiency.”

The Army said that while Thursday’s crash and the one in Kentucky remain under investigation, “there is no indication of any pattern between the two mishaps.