23 soldiers injured in training accident at Camp Shelby

Updated: Oct. 3, 2019 at 12:41 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Nearly two dozen soldiers were injured during a nighttime airborne training exercise Wednesday at Camp Shelby.

Camp Shelby commander Col. Bobby Ginn said the troops were from the 4th Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

Ginn said the troops were injured when they parachuted from an airplane during a training exercise around 8:30 p.m. He said the soldiers jumped from a C-130 aircraft and wind blew them away from their intended drop zone into a group of pine trees.

John Pennell, Chief of Media Relations for U.S. Army Alaska, said 89 paratroopers were aboard the aircraft for the jump exercise.

Ginn said some of the injured troops were transported by ambulance to the hospital. He also said some of the soldiers had to be rescued after their parachutes became entangled in the trees. Ginn said 23 paratroopers were injured during the exercise.

Staff Sgt. John Healy, with the 177th Armored Brigade at Camp Shelby, said none of the injuries are life-threatening.

Ambulances arrive at Forrest General Hospital following training accident at Camp Shelby.
Ambulances arrive at Forrest General Hospital following training accident at Camp Shelby.(Source: WDAM)

Pennell said 3,000 troops from the 4/25 IBCT are on a special month-long training exercise at Camp Shelby called “Operation Arctic Anvil.” Healy said 650 soldiers were involved in Wednesday night’s exercise.

The Mississippi National Guard released this statement around 12:15 a.m. Thursday:

At 8:00 P.M. this evening the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, United States Army Alaska, conducted an Airborne Operation on Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Hattiesburg, Miss., with approximately 650 Soldiers jumping in to begin at ten-day training exercise. We are still consolidating Soldiers on the drop zone at this time.

Airborne Operations all bear an inherent risk. We strive to mitigate this risk as much as possible. Forrest General Hospital was notified prior to the jump of the potential influx of patients and the types of injuries to be expected and emergency vehicles were on standby at Camp Shelby prior to the jump.

We are grateful for the overwhelming support that we have received from units here on Camp Shelby as well as local first responders. The entire community has come together to ensure that we are able to provide expert treatment to any Soldiers who were injured during the Airborne Operation. Confirmed injuries are not known at this time.

Once all Soldiers have been accounted for, our goal is ultimately to continue training. Despite the challenges that we currently face, Soldiers always place the mission first.

Pennell said it’s too early to speculate on what caused the accident but said a safety investigation is underway and more information will be available once it is complete.

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