Texas Army National Guard officials say two crew members aboard an Apache helicopter on a routine training mission died when their aircraft crashed in Galveston Bay just off the shoreline about 25 miles southeast of Houston. (Dec. 29)
AP

PASADENA, Texas — A community paid tribute Thursday night to the two pilots killed in a helicopter crash Wednesday afternoon in Galveston Bay.

The Texas Army National Guard identified its soldiers as Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dustin Lee Mortenson, 32, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lucas Maurice Lowe, 33.

A spokesman for the Texas Army National Guard confirmed Wednesday night the men were pilots based out of the 1-149th Attack Helicopter Battalion at Ellington Field. Their AH-64 Apache helicopter went into the bay near the Bayport Cruise Terminal just before 4 p.m. CT Wednesday. The wreckage was recovered just before 11 a.m. Thursday.

“Bless our servicemen for what they do for our country,” said William Price, one of Mortenson’s neighbors in League City.

Mortenson leaves behind a wife and kids in League City, where neighbors say he was all about family.

“I saw him outside all the time, they were always playing outside with their kids,” said David Barrett, a neighbor.

“I want them to know that I’m thinking about them and I’m praying for them,” Barrett said.

Lowe, the other crewmember who perished in the crash,  grew up in Daisetta in Liberty County.

“He’s going to be missed something terrible. He’s really going to be missed. He was my best friend. We hunted together, we fished together,” James Lowe Jr. said.

Lowe was a father of two with twins on the way. He served in the Army for 14 years, doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before joining the Texas Army National Guard.

“I was so proud of him. I’m so proud of him, he has made me so proud. He’s a better man than I could ever be,” Lowe said.

The cause of the crash was still under investigation. Search teams were working to recover one of the pilot’s bodies from the water late Thursday.

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