On the morning of Sept. 14, a blast reportedly rocked Fort Bragg, North Carolina, injuring a number of soldiers under Army Special Operations Command so badly that they required evacuation to Womack Army Medical Center by helicopter.
Local WRAL first reported that 15 soldiers were wounded as a result of the incident at Range 76 — the base’s live-fire training range. Later, the Army reduced the number of injured soldiers to eight. (Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Rob Bockholt told Task & Purpose he could not confirm the location of the mishap, or even that there was an explosion. “Nobody said that there was an explosion,” Bockholt told Task & Purpose. “There are eight injured, and what happened is under investigation.”)
BREAKING: Army spokesman says special operations soldiers injured in explosion during training at North Carolina's Fort Bragg.
Now, the Army has confirmed that one soldier, Staff Sgt. Alexander P. Dalida, has died as a result of his injuries. The identities and conditions of the other seven victims remain unknown. The soldiers were reportedly students from the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, and the incident took place during a demolition training exercise.
“The special operations community is a close-knit family,” Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag, commander of the school, told NBC News. “Staff Sgt. Dalida's death is a reminder that a soldier's job is inherently dangerous. Our thoughts and prayers are with Staff Sgt. Dalida's family and friends.”
Fort Bragg is the largest Army base in the world, home to more than 50,000 active-duty soldiers, Special Operations Command, Army Forces Command, Army Reserve Command, and the famed 82nd Airborne Division.
Task & Purpose will update this story as more information becomes available.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."