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Fort Bragg airborne training suspended after soldier deaths

Posted April 30, 2015

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— Paratrooper training for the 18th Airborne Corps has been suspended until each unit completes a refresher course, military officials said Thursday.

The suspension comes after two soldiers died during recent training exercises.

“The training will focus on proper static line control and aircraft exit procedures, maintaining control of the parachute during descent and keeping situational awareness of all nearby paratroopers during descent through landing,” Maj. Crystal Boring, Fort Bragg spokeswoman, said in a statement. “In addition, all paratroopers and jumpmasters will review video footage showing examples of both good and bad aircraft exits. This training is a prudent precautionary measure taken as a result of recent airborne training incidents.”

Spc. Nicholas Roberts, 27, of Longwood, Fla., was participating in airborne training at Sicily Drop Zone on Tuesday when he was killed. The incident remains under investigation.

Pv. Joshua D. Phillips, 19,of Las Vegas, was participating in a training exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. on April 16 when he was killed. His death is also under investigation.

Paratroopers will also be required to complete a daytime and nighttime combat equipment jump,Boring said.

Since March 2014, more than 63,000 individual jumps have happened with only three fatalities, she said.

“Exiting an aircraft while in flight carries inherent risks,” she said. “However, the airborne community takes a wide range of precautionary safety measures to mitigate the risks associated with airborne operations.”

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