2 Dead, 23 Injured In Training Incidents At Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Camp Pendleton


Two soldiers died and 23 servicemembers were injured in three days during training exercises at Fort Hood, Fort Bragg and Camp Pendleton, defense officials said.

Staff Sgt. Alexander P. Dalida was killed during the exercise at Fort Bragg, according to Lt. Col. Rob Bockholt, a spokesman for the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command. That explosion also injured eight soldiers, officials said.

At Fort Hood, Army Staff Sgt. Sean Devoy was killed after falling during helicopter training, according to an Army statement.

The incidents come just one day after 14 Marines and a sailor were injured in a sudden fire during training at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

An explosion at Fort Bragg has left 15 soldiers injured.Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The cause of the incidents was not clear Thursday, but authorities had launched investigations into all of them, Marine and Army officials said.

Dalida, 32, of Dunstable, Massachusetts, enlisted in 2006.

Devoy, 28, was participating in HH-60M Black Hawk medical evacuation hoist training on a range just south of Robert Gray Army Airfield, according to an Army statement. He was a medic assigned to 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley in Kansas.

Devoy had served three combat deployments to Afghanistan since joining the Army in 2010 and his awards included the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Aviation Badge and the Combat Medical Badge, according to Army records.

The Army said his death was under investigation by officials with Fort Rucker, Alabama-based U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.

The soldiers injured Thursday at Fort Bragg were assigned to a unit within the Army Special Operations Command, said Army Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt, a spokesman for the elite command based at the North Carolina post. He did not identify the specific unit involved in the training, although the Associated Press reported that Dalida was assigned to assigned to 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne). The injured were transported to Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Bragg with varying injuries, Bockholt said.

The injured soldiers’ conditions were unknown Thursday.

In California, six of the 15 injured servicemembers, all assigned to 1st Marine Division, were in critical condition after their amphibious assault vehicle ignited during training at Camp Pendleton.

All 15 remained in southern California hospitals a day after the incident, which occurred about 9:30 a.m. local time, said Marine 1st Lt. Paul Gainey, a spokesman for 1st Marine Division. In addition to those in critical condition, six more were in serious condition and three others suffered minor injuries.

U.S. Soldiers with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment conduct maneuver live-fire exercises at Range 76 in Fort Bragg, N.C., March 7, 2013.U.S. Army photo

Three in critical condition were evacuated to the Regional Burn Center at the University of California San Diego Health. The other three in critical condition were taken to the University of California Irvine Medical Center.

The injured troops belong to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, Gainey said. Their families had been notified by Thursday of the incident, but the Marines will not release their names, he said, citing medical privacy laws.

It remained unclear Thursday what caused the amphibious assault vehicle to ignite on land during a routine combat readiness evaluation operation, Gainey said. He said investigators were in the early stages of their probe.

An amphibious assault vehicle, or AAV-7, is 30-ton, armored vehicle designed to carry Marines and their equipment from Navy amphibious assault ships onto land and into combat. The tracked vehicles, known to Marines as “amtracks,” feature a boat hull-shaped front end that helps them maneuver through water. They can carry up to 28 Marines at a time.

In September 2013, an amphibious assault vehicle caught fire during a training exercise at Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in Califorina’s Mojave Desert, injuring several Marines and killing one, Cpl. Nicholas Sell.

An investigation showed that ordnance ignited, causing the vehicle fire in that incident. The Marines later stopped using the vehicle’s mine clearance system. In August, the Marines began using an updated version of that system, which the service said is safer.

The latest incidents follow a series of deadly aircraft and warship crashes that have killed 42 servicemembers since July and raised questions among Pentagon officials and lawmakers about the state of the military.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Wednesday that much of the problems plaguing the military, including training mishaps, are “self-inflicted.” The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said four times as many servicemembers have been killed in training incidents during the last three years than in combat and pushed fellow lawmakers to pass the annual defense spending bill to provide the Pentagon some budget stability.

“It is the accumulation of years of uncertain, untimely and inadequate defense funding, which has shrunk our operational forces, harmed their readiness, stunted their modernization, and as every single member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has repeatedly testified before the Committee on Armed Services, put the lives of our servicemembers at greater risk,” McCain said.


©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

U.S. Marine Corps photo

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.

After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.

The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

Read More Show Less
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

Read More Show Less