2 soldiers dead, 12 hurt in military-vehicle rollover near Salcha

Fort Wainwright sign
A gate sign at Fort Wainwright (Eve Baker/Fort Wainwright Public Affairs)

Two Fort Wainwright-based soldiers were killed and a dozen others were injured Monday in a military vehicle crash near Salcha.

John Pennell, a spokesman for the Army’s 11th Airborne Division, said the two soldiers who died were among 17 in a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle that crashed on the way to the Army’s Yukon Training Area Monday morning.

“There was a driver and assistant driver and then 15 soldiers were travelling in the back in the transport area, and at some point the vehicle left the road and turned over,” Pennell said.

According to an Army statement, the injured were transported by road and air to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Pennell said two of the more seriously hurt were subsequently flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

He says the names of the soldiers killed in the crash are being withheld pending notification of their families.

“We’re a real tight-knit group in the military, so right now, the entire 11th Airborne Division is grieving and preparing to provide whatever support is necessary for the families of the deceased and to help support those who are still in the hospital and dealing with their injuries,” Pennell told the Associated Press.

The Army will investigate the cause of the crash, which occurred as the season’s first snow fell across the region. Because there were deaths involved, Pennell said, the Army Combat Readiness Center in Alabama will also send an investigatory team.

The names of the two soldiers killed will be released 24 hours after relatives are notified.

It’s the second deadly episode involving Alaska-based soldiers this year. In April, three soldiers were killed when two military helicopters collided while en route to Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks from a training mission.

Alaska State Troopers, the North Pole Fire Department and Eielson Air Force Base assisted in the response.

The Associated Press contributed information to this story.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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