Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg and Warrant Officers James A. Rogers Jr. and Charles P. Nord died on December 5, 2019, in an afternoon crash, which occurred shortly after they took off in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the Army Aviation Support Facility at the St. Cloud airport. Guard officials have said that they were taking part in a maintenance flight, and an investigation of the cause of the crash is still taking place. All three aboard the helicopter were assigned to the St. Cloud, Minn.-based Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion.
Kort Miller Plantenberg was born in St. Cloud and grew up in Avon. He graduated from Albany Area High School in 2009 and from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2013 with a degree in criminology, then went to work as a correctional officer with the Stearns County Sheriff's Department. His sense of service and dreams of flying inspired Kort to enlist in the Minnesota Army National Guard March 1, 2016 as an aircraft electrician. Sgt. Plantenberg served a nine-month deployment with the Guard's Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion in Kuwait, where the unit provided aerial medical evacuation. Kort returned from deployment May 11 and was recently hired as a federal technician UH60 mechanic at Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in St. Cloud. He was selected to start the state warrant officer program in March 2020 and then flight school next fall in pursuit of his lifelong passion. His ambition was to work on helicopters during the week and fly them on the weekend. He is survived by his parents, Steve and Laura Plantenberg of Avon; sister Isabel Plantenberg of Avon; grandmother Theresa Elliott of Savage; girlfriend Bryonna Anderson of Clovis; and trusted canine companion Max.
James A Rogers was born in Madelia, MN. He graduated from Saint James High School in 2010, and Saint Cloud State University in December 2019. Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Rogers joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in June 2009, as a field artillery automated tactical data system specialist with the 1-125FA in New Ulm. He completed the warrant officer basic course in May 2013, was commissioned as a WO1, and attended UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker, AL, which he completed in August 2014. CW2 Rogers was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from May 2011 to May 2012, and again from June 2018 to June 2019 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Inherent Resolve. He is survived by his loving parents, James and Beth Rogers; sister Candis Folkens; brother-in-law Bryan Folkens; grandmother Patricia Hoffman; and 19 aunts and uncles.
Charles P. Nord was born in Breckenridge, MN. He lived on the family farm outside of Wyndmere, and then attended school in Perham, MN and graduated in 2007. He enlisted in the National Guard to become part of a tank crew. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and also earned his associate degree in construction electrical technology. In 2009, Charles met the love of his life, Kaley Faye Ratz. They were united in marriage on July 14, 2012. They made their home in Detroit Lakes, MN. In September of 2015, Charles was selected into Warrant Officer training program to qualify for helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker, AL. Charles and Kaley welcomed into the world their beautiful baby daughter, Lydia, on May 3, 2017. Charles completed flight school in September 2017 and the family moved to Vergas where Charles was a part of Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion. Charles finally found his calling, being an medevac helicopter pilot. In June 2018, he and the rest of Charlie Company was deployed to Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East. He attained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2. Charles returned home in May 2019 and began building his family’s new home by Perham, which they moved into in August. Charles also became employed at Bond Helicopter Service of Perham as a crop sprayer. Charles is survived by his loving wife Kaley; his 2-year-old daughter Lydia; his unborn son Jack; his parents Paul and Monica Nord; his brother James (Tiffany) Nord; maternal grandparents Jack and Kathleen Braun; mother and father-in-law Jeff and Lisa Ratz; sister-in-law Keshia (John) Buschette; brother-in-law Kasey (Tori) Ratz; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, a nephew and a niece.
The Memorial Fund will be divided among the three families.