Troops injured during parachute training exercise at Mississippi military base
More than 20 soldiers were injured after paratroopers were blown into trees in a huge military training exercise in Mississippi on Wednesday night.
The incident happened during a parachute exercise with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Alaska, at Camp Shelby around 8 p.m., the military said.
None of the injuries are life-threatening, U.S. Army Alaska media relations chief John Pennell said in an email. Officials said they were tracking more than 20 injuries, including 10 soldiers who had been transported to local hospitals.
Camp Shelby commander Col. Bobby Ginn said the troops were injured after they parachuted out of a C-130 aircraft and the wind blew them from their drop zone and into a group of pine trees, NBC affiliate WDAM of Moselle reported.
The 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment said in a statement that 87 jumpers landed in trees next to the drop zone. Early Thursday, there were four jumpers getting help from the fire department in getting down from trees, it said.
“We have systems and professionals who are trained and ready to address situations like this,” the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment said. Camp Shelby is southeast of Hattiesburg.
Millie Swan, vice president of Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, said the medical center received four patients to the emergency room, but he had no information on their conditions.
The incident, which is under investigation, occurred during what Mississippi National Guard Deputy Director of Public Affairs Daniel Szarek described as a huge training exercise.
Camp Shelby had earlier announced on Facebook that "Exercise Arctic Anvil," a 10-day training exercise, would start Wednesday with an airborne operation by the paratrooper and involved 650 soldiers.
Officials said in total, about 3,000 soldiers from 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are participating in "Exercise Arctic Anvil."
The announcement posted Wednesday said that the exercise is the largest that Camp Shelby has hosted with an active brigade combat team.
Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center is in the center of the state, southeast of Hattiesburg.
It covers more than 134,000 acres, according to its website. It was established in 1917 and serves as a training site for National Guard personnel and reservists from across the country.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, said in the statement that "Airborne Operations all bear an inherent risk" and the military tries to mitigate that risk as much as possible. It said that despite the incident, "our goal is ultimately to continue training."
"Despite the challenges that we currently face, Soldiers always place the mission first," the statement said.