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Helicopter maker: Families of Tennessee soldiers cannot sue over fatal crash

Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News-Sentinel • May 31, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Government contractors cannot be sued for malfunctions of their equipment on the battlefield.

So says the manufacturer of one of the U.S. Army’s most advanced helicopters — an aircraft two Tennessee families blame for the deaths of two soldiers in Iraq.

The mother of Capt. Marcus Ray Alford, 28, of Knoxville, and the husband of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Billie Jean Grinder, 25, of Gallatin, Tenn., are suing government contractor Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and companies, including Rolls-Royce North America Inc., Goodrich Pump and Engine Control Systems, Unison Industries and Honeywell International, that supplied parts for Bell’s Kiowa OH-58D Warrior helicopter.

Alford, a South-Doyle High School and Carson-Newman College graduate, and Grinder were piloting the Bell chopper when it crashed south of Mosul, Iraq, in February 2010 as the pair tried to land. They were not under fire and no enemy forces were nearby, the military has said.

Read more at the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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