Local News

Iraq veteran, author killed in Bragg training exercise

Posted September 25, 2013 3:06 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2013 3:55 p.m. EDT

— The soldier killed in a Monday parachute accident on Fort Bragg was a 26-year Army veteran who wrote a book about his experiences in Iraq.

Col. Darron L. Wright, 46, of Mesquite, Texas, died while conducting a standard MC-6 parachute jump at Sicily Drop Zone, officials said Wednesday.

Paratroopers typically use the T-11 parachute, but Fort Bragg officials said the MC-6 is considerably more maneuverable. As with the T-11, soldiers have to go through formal training on a simulator and become fully qualified to use the MC-6.

A post spokesman couldn't say how much experience Wright had with the MC-6 chute.

“We are deeply saddened by (Monday’s) events, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Lt. Gen. Joe Anderson, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, said in a statement. “The XVIII Airborne Corps has sustained the loss of a superb paratrooper and a magnificent officer who served with marked distinction and honor throughout his career.”

Wright was among the first into Iraq a decade ago and among the last out in 2010, lighting a cigar as he crossed the border into Kuwait.

At the end of his three active-duty tours in Iraq, he sat down with Iraqi sheiks and other former enemies to share meals and make amends as Iraq tried to move forward on its own after years of war.

Wright chronicled his experiences in a 2012 book, "Iraq Full Circle." In a November interview with a Dallas radio station to promote the book, he recalled the early days of the invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

"What struck me the most is that you knew we were celebrated at that very moment and cheered as liberators, and in the months down the road, that would change," he said.

During his Army career, he received two Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award and other commendations.

Wright, his wife, Wendy, and their three children moved from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state to Fort Bragg in August for his new assignment as an assistant chief of staff for the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The parachute accident remains under investigation.

"The loss of this outstanding leader and patriot leaves a void in our team,” Wright’s deputy, Lt. Col. Michael Moore, said in a statement. “The entire G5 team is saddened and shocked by this tragedy. We will truly miss his leadership, experience and energy.”