Local News

Paratrooper killed in howitzer accident identified

Posted February 22
Updated February 23

Pfc. James Groth, 22, of Ethal, WA, a cannon crew member, was killed during this incident. Groth was pronounced dead upon arrival at Womack Army Medical Center.

— Army officials have identified the paratrooper who died Friday morning during a training exercise at Fort Bragg. 

Fort Bragg officials said Pfc. James Groth, 22, of Ethel, Wa., a cannon crew member, was killed during the training exercise. Groth was pronounced dead upon arrival at Womack Army Medical Center, according to the Army.

"The incident occurred during a training exercise while Soldiers from 18th Fires Brigade's 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment conducted an artillery live-fire training exercise with a M777, 155mm towed howitzer," officials said in a statement Saturday.

Officials said two other soldiers were seriously injured and five others were treated and released from Womack Army Medical Center.

Sgt. Cory Muzzy, 25, of Pecos, Nm., a cannon crew member was in critical but stable condition at Duke University Medical Center Saturday. Spc. Scott Yeates, 30, of Sanford, Fl., a cannon crew member was in serious but stable condition at Womack.

The five Soldiers who sustained minor injuries were Staff Sgt. Gonzalo Manriquez, 31, of Babson Park, Fl., the howitzer section chief; Sgt. Keith Robinson, 28, of Fayetteville, a supply sergeant; Sgt. Jonathan Handwerker, 30, of Dayton, Oh., a cannon crew member; Spc. Shawn Bates, 22, of Sanford, a cannon crew member; and Pfc. Yonathanmarti Nunezmartinez, 20, of Flushing, Ny., a cannon crew member.

"Losing a Trooper is heartbreaking. Pfc. Groth will be missed by his friends and fellow Soldiers in the battalion. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Groth family and those that were injured during these difficult times,” said Lt. Col. Joseph O’Callaghan, Commander, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment.

Funeral and memorial service information is still pending.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.



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  • dwr1964 Feb 24, 7:11 p.m.

    A very sad situation for the injured soldiers, the deceased soldier, and the families of both. The cost of training, can be just as deadly as the cost of war.

  • 678devilish Feb 24, 3:22 p.m.

    My condolences to the family and many friends. May God/Jesus bring each of you comfort and peace in the days ahead. My prayers are with all of you.