The wreckage of a C-141 aircraft at Pope Air Force Base after being hit by an out-of-control F-16 on March 23, 1994. The resulting fire killed 24 U.S. Army paratroopers waiting nearby. The aerial view, taken one day after the accident, shows the extent of the damage to the C-141 Starlifter after the F-16D Falcon crashed and hit the unoccupied C-141 parked on the tarmac. (Airman Magazine/Wikimedia Commons)
Retired Lt. Col. Jay Nelson is often asked when he recovered from a 1994 accident that killed 24 fellow paratroopers as they were preparing for a jump.
"I tell folks I'll let them know when I get there," he said.
Nelson, who was burned over about half his body in the accident, spoke at a ceremony Friday that honored the soldiers who died. The event marked the 25th anniversary of the accident, which happened on March 23, 1994, at Green Ramp on what is now Pope Army Airfield.
A Jumpmaster from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division counts paratroopers as they board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster on February 1, 2019 at Fort Bragg's Green Ramp. The paratroopers conducted a combat equipment static line airborne operation onto Fort Bragg's Normandy drop zone to maintain their proficiency and rehearse their roles during follow-on missions. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Taylor Hoganson)
Since joining the military in 2005, Master Sgt. Michael Mabry has jumped out of military aircraft more than a hundred times.
Yet a jump in January is what the 45-year-old describes as the highlight of his military career. That's when he saw his son, 18-year-old Pvt. William Mabry, participate in his sixth jump and his first under the 82nd Airborne Division.
"It's really an honor to be able to serve in the same division as my son as paratroopers," Michael Mabry said. "There's a long lineage of heritage and honor within the 82nd of the American paratrooper, and to be able to pass that on is quite special."
The Hawkeye 105 mm Howitzer mobile artillery system developed by Mandus Group looks like something straight out of Command & Conquer. If you don’t believe me, check out this sweet slow-motion video of some lucky 82nd Airborne soldiers testing out the new hotness that popped up on Twitter on August 5.
On Aug. 2, Spc. Chris Harris died in Afghanistan, one of two soldiers from Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne killed when an IED struck their convoy near Kandahar. Harris’ wife, Britt, was pregnant with their first child.