- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2019

One soldier broke his back and another 17 were injured during a nighttime training exercise at Mississippi’s Camp Shelby on Wednesday night, military officials said, sparking an hourslong rescue mission to rescue paratroopers trapped high atop pine trees.

The exercise, which involved hundreds of soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based in Alaska, began at 8 p.m. Wednesday. At least 87 of the paratroopers were reportedly blown away from their drop zone and toward a large cluster of trees.

By early Thursday afternoon, officials said all 87 soldiers had been rescued and 18 needed medical attention, including one who underwent surgery for a broken back.

“We had a few jumpers remaining that were so high in the trees that they required significant recovery support. Thankfully, a majority of the paratroopers were uninjured from their tree landings,” Lt. Col. Matt Myer, commander of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The 18 paratroopers that required care will all recover. One soldier received a successful surgery for a broken back, and is expected to recover well.”

“As I have said before, service as a paratrooper requires a level of toughness that most do not understand,” he continued. “Despite the difficulty of this training jump, the battalion performed well and will recover well to continue our training mission.”

Wednesday night’s jump was part of a much larger training exercise known as Arctic Anvil. The exercise included more than 900 paratroopers and a heavy equipment drop.

It also represented the “largest exercise that Camp Shelby has hosted in conjunction with an active-duty brigade combat team,” Col. Bobby Ginn, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center post commander said in a statement this week announcing the kickoff of the exercise.

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