June 25, 2024

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — U.S. Army officials have identified two soldiers killed when their large transport vehicle crashed while heading to a training area in interior Alaska.

There were among 17 soldiers on board the vehicle that flipped when the driver lost control on a dirt road leading to the Yukon Training Area near the community of Salcha, or about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Fairbanks, officials said earlier. Twelve other soldiers were injured.

The two soldiers killed were Spcs. Jeremy Daniel Evans and Brian Joshua Snowden, the Army said in a statement late Wednesday.

Both were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Combat Team with the 11th Airborne Division.

Evans, 23, arrived in Alaska in January 2021 after completing training at Fort Moore in Georgia. The Knoxville, Tennessee, native joined the Army in July 2020.

Snowden, 22, also joined the Army in July 2020 and trained at Fort Moore. Snowden, a Lonedell, Missouri, native arrived for duty in Alaska in March 2021.

“This is an incredible loss for all of us across the division,” Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, said in the statement.

“While we’re always challenged by the environment, we’re Arctic Angels, we overcome these challenges and accomplish our mission by being a team, and teams take care of one another, especially in times like these,” Eifler said.

Among the 12 other soldiers injured, eight were treated and released the same day from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the Army said. Two injured soldiers remain in stable condition in Fairbanks.

Two other soldiers who were taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage were also in stable condition, officials said.

The accident remains under investigation.

It’s unclear what caused the light medium tactical vehicle, or LMTV, rollover. But as the post-9/11 wars wind down and combat fatalities become more rare, vehicle accidents, especially those involving rollovers, are a leading cause of death within the military.

The incidents have partly been attributed to sleep deprivation and troops not being adequately trained on vehicles. In many cases, investigators have found soldiers were not wearing seat belts — which are non-existent in the back of certain trucks like LMTVs.

Soldiers sit on benches in the LMTV with relatively little protection if the vehicle flips over.

In July, eight soldiers with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment based in Vilseck, Germany, were injured when their LMTV rolled over during a training exercise in Bavaria, according to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. Two of the soldiers in that incident required overnight hospital stays.

The rollover in Germany occurred when the driver lost control on a forest road, the newspaper reported.

Military.com reporter Steve Beynon contributed to this article.

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