31 January 2014

Anchorage: Big Noise and Sad News

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is making a lot of noise in local news today:

U.S. Army Alaska officials warn residents at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and in East Anchorage that they may hear explosions Friday afternoon while soldiers conduct live-fire training. 

Soldiers will fire 105mm howitzers at 1 p.m. as part of a larger, brigade-wide operation in preparation for the Joint Readiness Training Center rotation in April at Fort Polk, La., said Maj. Adam Hallmark, U.S. Army Alaska spokesman.

"Don't be alarmed if you hear the sound of cannon fire; it's just us training," he said.

But there's also a sad story:

A paratrooper at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson died Thursday night after a jump exercise on base earlier in the day, U.S. Army Alaska officials said Friday.

The soldier, assigned to the 2nd Engineer Brigade, collapsed in the Malemute Drop Zone. Medics treated him on scene and called for a medical evacuation, said John Pennell, U.S. Army Alaska spokesman.

"There is no indication the soldier had a hard landing or any equipment malfunction in the jump he had just completed before he collapsed," Pennell said in a statement Friday. "His parachute had been packed away and he was wearing his rucksack when the drop zone safety officer reached him."

The paratrooper was flown to the Providence Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. He died at 8 p.m., Pennell said.


ProudHillbilly said...

So sad. And probably just one of those weird hidden medical problems.

PioneerPreppy said...

105's huh? Didn't know any units were still using those. When I was in some of the mountain divisions still had them but I thought they had traded em in for 155 towed pieces long ago. I guess not. If it's the same 105's we were using 30 years ago, which was basically the same one we had been using since at least Vietnam they are sweet firing little guns. Some of the old guys who were still in and Vietnam vets could fire those things almost like a sniper rifle if they wanted to. And just about as fast too. Occasionally they would fire them on the ranges down at Fort Sill and it was pretty impressive.

Rev. Paul said...

Could be, PH. It's hard to say, since the medical analysis won't be available for awhile.

Rev. Paul said...

Preppy, this is the Anchorage Daily Worker, er, News we're talking about. That "105" could be practically anything. They've never let lack of accuracy get in the way of their narrative before, so why start now?

Srsly, though, 105s are nice field pieces, as you said. :)

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

I'm sad to hear this young man didn't make it through surgery.
I have to agree with PH regarding a potential hidden medical issue.

Old NFO said...

Sad to hear, but it does happen... And those booms are the sound of freedom! :-)

Rev. Paul said...

Me too, Sandy. Thanks.

Rev. Paul said...

Agreed, NFO - on BOTH points. :)