Tactical Vehicle Rollover Kills 2 Soldiers, Injures 12 During Training in Alaska

by Braxton Taylor

Two soldiers with the 11th Airborne Division were killed and 12 were injured in a military vehicle accident Monday in Alaska, according to the division.

A Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, or LMTV, rolled over while traveling with a convoy in the Yukon Training Area, the division said in a statement. Seventeen soldiers were riding in the truck around 11 a.m. when the driver lost control.

First responders provided on-scene medical treatment and medically evacuated the soldiers by ground and air to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 30 miles from the site of the incident. Two soldiers were so severely injured they were flown 300 miles to Anchorage.

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The Army is withholding the names of the deceased soldiers until 24 hours after next of kin are notified, which is standard practice.

“We’re all grieving and kind of doing what we can to support the families,” Army spokesman John Pennell told a local news station. “Anytime we lose our soldiers, it’s a tragic event for the family, for the fellow soldiers, for the soldiers’ friends. Essentially, the entire 11th Airborne Division family is grieving the loss of these two soldiers and preparing to step forward for the families they’ve left behind.”

It’s unclear what caused the LMTV rollover. But as the post-9/11 wars wind down and combat fatalities become more rare, vehicle accidents, especially those involving rollovers, are a leading cause of death within the military.

The incidents have partly been attributed to sleep deprivation and troops not being adequately trained on vehicles. In many cases, investigators have found soldiers were not wearing seat belts — which are non-existent in the back of certain trucks like LMTVs.

Soldiers sit on benches in the LMTV with relatively little protection if the vehicle flips over.

In July, eight soldiers with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment based in Vilseck, Germany, were injured when their LMTV rolled over during a training exercise in Bavaria, according to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. Two of the soldiers in that incident required overnight hospital stays.

The rollover in Germany occurred when the driver lost control on a forest road, the newspaper reported.

In May, Army Spc. Jayson Haven, 20, a South Carolina National Guardsman, died in a Humvee rollover accident at Camp Buehring in Kuwait.

— Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

Related: The Top Killer of Soldiers, Army Vehicle Deaths Are Tied to Poor Training, Though Numbers Down

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