Local News

7 Bragg Paratroopers Killed in Iraq

Posted September 11, 2007 2:48 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2007 6:31 a.m. EDT

— Seven 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers were killed early Monday when their vehicle crashed in Iraq, Army officials said Tuesday.

The soldiers were members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, also known as Falcon Brigade.

The crash, which occurred in western Baghdad, also killed two detainees, Fort Bragg spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt said. Ten other soldiers and a third detainee were injured in the wreck, he said.

The troops were returning from a raid in Baghdad when their five-ton FMTV veered off an elevated highway and plunged about 33 feet to the ground below, Earnhardt said.

Army officials believe the vehicle blew a tire and wasn't the target of an attack, he said.

"It's gut wrenching. There's so much trepidation in meeting a family for the first time and knowing you're walking up under horrible circumstances," Earnhardt said.

The names of the dead and injured soldiers haven't been released, pending notification of relatives.

"Myself and the other captains and NCOs are working closely with the other rear detachments and coordinating how to best take care of the families of the wounded and the deceased," said Capt. Patrick Koucheravy, of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Three of the injured soldiers were listed in serious condition Tuesday, while the other seven were in stable condition, Earnhardt said.

The incident is the latest in a string of heavy casualties for the 82nd Airborne.

In March, seven Fort Bragg paratroopers were killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Nine Fort Bragg paratroopers were killed and 20 others were injured in April in a suicide car bombing against a patrol base in the Diyala province of northeast Iraq. That marked the single greatest loss of life for soldiers from the base in more than five years of deployment in the War on Terror.

Another five Fort Bragg soldiers died in May when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan shortly after dropping off about 40 paratroopers during a routine personnel movement.