23 Alaska paratroopers injured in Mississippi training exercise

Members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division load onto a C-130 during exercise Talisman-Saber in Australia during 2015. (Photo: Zachariah Hughes – Alaska Public Media, Northern Territory, Australia).

Twenty-three Alaska soldiers were sent to a hospital after training exercises in Mississippi went awry Wednesday night.

Six-hundred-fifty airborne soldiers parachuted in as part of the operation at Camp Shelby. But unexpected winds sent dozens toward a stand of pines.

“Eighty-seven paratroopers landed off course into a wooded area, resulting in injuries,” Colonel Bobby Ginn said during a press conference on Thursday organized by the Mississippi National Guard.

As of Thursday, four soldiers remain in a nearby hospital. However, none of the injuries are life-threatening, and there have been no deaths as a result of the exercise.

The soldiers are attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage. About 3,000 troops from Alaska are in Mississippi as part of a training exercise, “Operation Arctic Anvil.”

Initial reports and internet rumors Wednesday night suggested a more serious incident had taken place. Paratroopers are routinely hurt during airborne jumps. Sprains and breaks in the lower limbs are the most common injuries.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah