By Dana Thiede
Legislation drawn up by Minnesota's U.S. Senate delegation would honor the memory of three National Guardsmen who died while testing a helicopter in 2019.
Chief Warrant Officer James A. Rogers Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Charles P. Nord and Warrant Officer Kort Plantenberg were up in a Blackhawk helicopter on Dec, 5, 2019, testing it following some mechanical work when the aircraft went down approximately 16 miles from St. Cloud.
None of the men survived.
The three men were members of Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion and had just returned from a deployment to the Middle East just months before the crash.
In December, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced bipartisan legislation to rename the Avon Post Office in honor of Plantenberg; the Perham Post Office after Nord; and the Winsted Post Office in honor of Rogers Jr. The locations correspond with the guardsmen's hometowns.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Michelle Fischbach (R-MN).
A letter drawn up by Klobuchar and Smith was also signed by Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), Pete Stauber (R-MN), and the late Representative Jim Hagedorn (R-MN). That letter urges members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee to take action on the renaming plan.
“These National Guardsmen made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the safety and security of our nation," reads the letter. "We are grateful for their sacrifice and believe that renaming these post offices in their honor would be a fitting tribute to their legacy.”
In the letter, Minnesota's delegation asks committee leaders to take action on the bills as soon as possible.