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Helicopter crash victims are honored as heroes

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) — Eleven soldiers killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash were honored as heroes Friday at a memorial service attended by more than 2,500 troops, dignitaries and relatives of the men.

"It's impossible to make sense of any tragic loss. Today is no exception," said Col. Kevin Wilkerson, commander of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade.

"This is as big a loss as anyone who died in combat," he said. "Please have no doubt about it."

The 11 died Tuesday when a Black Hawk helicopter with 13 soldiers aboard crashed on the sprawling Fort Drum Army post in northern New York. The only two survivors remained hospitalized Friday: Spec. Dmitri Petrov was in critical condition and Spec. Edwin A. Mejia was in serious condition.