Two soldiers assigned to the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, were killed and a dozen more were injured Monday afternoon when their truck rolled over near the Yukon Training Area, according to local media reports.
According to Alaska News Source, 17 soldiers were riding in a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle on a dirt road near the training area outside the town of Salcha, when the driver lost control of the truck. It then flipped, killing two of the soldiers and sending as many as a dozen more to hospitals around the state.
In addition to the two deceased soldiers, a pair of troops suffered injuries severe enough that they were evacuated nearly 300 miles by air to Providence Medical Center in Anchorage, the state’s largest city, the report said. The less-injured soldiers were evacuated by ground and air to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. The New York Times reported that the injured troops had not been released from the hospital as of Monday evening.
First responders from the Alaska State Troopers, North Pole Fire Department, and Eielson Air Force Base responded to the scene, according to the local report.
The division’s spokesperson, John Pennell, told Alaska News Source that “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.” Pennell did not immediately respond to an emailed query from Army Times.
As occurs with all fatal Army accidents, a local investigation and a safety investigation led by the Army Combat Readiness Center will seek to formally determine the cause of the crash. The identities of the fallen troops won’t be released until 24 hours after their next-of-kin have been notified, in line with service policy.
In recent years, fatal tactical vehicle rollover crashes such as Monday’s inspired lawmakers to require the Army and Marine Corps to study whether including built-in data recorders — or “black boxes” — in ground vehicles could improve their safety.
Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.