82nd Airborne paratrooper dies in howitzer explosion at Fort Bragg

82nd Airborne paratrooper killed in a howitzer explosion during training in North Carolina. Two other 82nd Airborne paratroopers were seriously injured.

Military officials say an 82nd Airborne soldier has been killed and two others seriously injured in an explosion during a training exercise at Fort Bragg.

A statement from the North Carolina Army post says Friday's blast occurred during artillery live-fire training involving the 18th Fires Brigade. Officials said there was "an incident" with a M777 light, towed howitzer. No further details were available.

One of the two seriously injured soldiers is at Womack Army Medical Center, while the other has been transferred to Duke University Medical Center. Officials credit two onsite medics with providing lifesaving care to the wounded.

The statement says the names of the soldiers will be released after next of kin is notified.

“We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Paratroopers killed and wounded in this tragic incident,” said Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr., Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division.

The Army is investigating what went wrong.

It’s at least the second live-fire incident in which troops were injured during training at Fort Bragg in three years, reports Stars and Stripes.

In March 2011, several hundred members of the 2nd Battalion of the 10th Marine Regiment were at Bragg for annual artillery training during which a group was firing a similar weapon, an M777A2 lightweight howitzer, when a 155-mm round apparently exploded in the barrel.

Eight Marines and two Navy personnel were injured in that blast. A Marine spokesman at the time said most of the injuries were shrapnel wounds and lacerations. The Marines temporarily halted all live-firing following the incident. The Defense Department did not announce the findings of an investigation into whether the Marines had followed proper procedures, whether there was a problem with the round or if the weapon had malfunctioned.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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