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Military IDs Bragg Paratroopers Killed in Iraq

Military officials have identified seven paratroopers who died early Monday when their vehicle crashed in Iraq. One of the soldiers killed was from Hope Mills.

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Military officials have identified seven paratroopers who died early Monday when their vehicle crashed in Iraq.

Fort Bragg spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt 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.

The soldiers who died in the accident were:

  • Pfc. Ari D Brown-Weeks, 23, of Abingdon, Md.
  • Pfc. Steven Elrod, 20, of Hope Mills, N.C.
  • Staff Sgt. Yance Gray, 26, of Ismay, Mont.
  • Sgt. Michael C. Hardegree, 21, of Villa Rica, Ga.
  • Sgt. Omar Mora, 28, of Texas City, Texas
  • Sgt. Nicolas Patterson, 24, of Rochester, Ind.
  • Staff Sgt. Gregory Rivera-Santiago, 26, of St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Military officials said they believe the vehicle blew a tire and was not the target of an attack. The soldiers were members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, also known as Falcon Brigade.

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