Fort Bragg, N.C. — The XVIII Airborne Corps has suspended use of the MC-6 parachute following the death of a 26-year Army veteran in a training exercise on Monday.
The decision by corps commander Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson affects only the 82nd Airborne Division and other units of the corps. Other units of the Army using the MC-6 parachute may decide to follow suit and implement similar suspensions, depending on their leadership, officials said.
Col. Darron L. Wright, 46, of Mesquite, Texas, died while conducting a standard MC-6 parachute jump at Sicily Drop Zone, officials said Wednesday.
The XVIII Airborne Corps began jumping with MC-6 parachutes in July 2010, and soldiers have to go through formal training on a simulator and become fully qualified on it before using it in a jump.
A post spokesman couldn't say how much experience Wright had with the MC-6 chute.
"The investigation (of Monday's accident), when complete, will tell us the rest of the story on what happened on this tragic day for the corps," Fort Bragg spokesman Col. Kevin Arrata said in an email. "We don't yet know when it will be complete, but it will be done thoroughly and done right, so that we know as much as we possibly can to prevent future such tragedies in our airborne community."
The 32-foot diameter MC-6 is seen as more maneuverable than the square-canopy T-11 parachutes normally used by Fort Bragg paratroopers. It can complete a 360-degree turn in five seconds.
Wright served three tours of duty in Iraq between 2003 and 2010 and later wrote a book about his experiences, "Iraq Full Circle." He was assigned to Fort Bragg this summer as an assistant chief of staff for the XVIII Airborne Corps.