CAMP SHELBY, Miss. — A military training exercise at Camp Shelby in Mississippi left at least 22 paratroopers injured after wind blew them off course from their planned drop zone, a US Army official said.
Members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Alaska were conducting night jumps late Wednesday at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, said 25th Infantry spokesperson Cpt. Ashley Sangster. Three aircraft were operating near two jump sites in a military exercise, Sangster said.
Wind blew the soldiers off course and into a group of pine trees, Camp Shelby commander Col. Bobby Ginn told CNN affiliate WDAM. Winds were around 5 mph at the time of the incident, according to CNN Weather. The aircraft landed safely, Sangster said.
Of the injured, 15 were treated by medics in the field and seven were taken to local hospitals, US Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell said.
There were 84 infantry members that should have been part of the jump, and all soldiers in the end were accounted for. It was “all hands on deck” to get soldiers out of the trees, base officials said.
Some soldiers suffered limb injuries from hard landings, but none of the injuries is life-threatening, Sangster said.
Wednesday was the start of a 10-day training exercise with 650 soldiers, the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division said in a Facebook post. Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was notified of possible injuries ahead of time and emergency vehicles were on standby, the post added.
“Airborne Operations all bear an inherent risk. We strive to mitigate this risk as much as possible,” the team said on Facebook. “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.”
Camp Shelby is a military post located at the southern boundary of Hattiesburg, covering more than 134,000 acres.
Paratroopers with the 25th Infantry Division left home in Alaska for Camp Shelby “with minimal notice on an Emergency Deployment exercise,” a US Army recruiting battalion, @GoArmyMidwest, tweeted Tuesday.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division this week has posted many videos to its official Facebook page, documenting paratroopers training at Camp Shelby.