Two US Army Ranger candidates killed during mountain phase training


remember the dead

“C-130 rolls on the strip, Airborne Ranger is going for a little trip. Top secret mission destination unknown; unsure if he will ever return home. – Remembering the author of a call from Jody from many years ago

Everyone knows that military training is dangerous. When we raise our hands to take an oath, we know what can happen. Ranger training can be particularly dangerous; last week he claimed two more victims.

According to information published by The hill, two Ranger candidates were killed during a training exercise in Georgia. The two men, HSG George Taber, 30, and 2LT Evan Fitzgibbon, 23, died after being struck by a falling tree Aug. 9 on Yonah Mountain.

Due to the sudden change in weather in the mountainous training area, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning from 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. They warned that wind speeds could reach 60 miles per hour, which could be combined with quarter-sized hail.

A press release from the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence noted that three other Ranger candidates were non-fatally injured by the fall from the same tree. It happened around 3:15 p.m. local time as the men sought shelter during a practice hold necessitated by bad weather. All of the injured were taken to a nearby hospital, where Fitzgibbon and Taber were pronounced dead.

Major General Curtis A. Buzzard, commanding general of Fort Benning, told the press: “We are all deeply saddened by the loss of these two exceptional soldiers and send our deepest condolences.
to their families. They are in our thoughts and prayers. »

stars and stripes tells us by Army spokesman Michael Negard that a security investigation has been initiated by a team from the Army’s Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker. This is common practice in such incidents.

The deaths come on the heels of another weather-related training fatality in Georgia. The Washington Times reported the death of Sergeant First Class Michael D. Clark, 41, following a lightning strike on July 22, 2022 at Fort Gordon. Eight other soldiers were injured in the storm and required medical attention.

Fitzgibbon and Taber

Evan Fitzgibbon was an 11A Infantry Officer assigned to the Basic Infantry Officer Course (199th Leader Brigade at Fort Benning, GA). He graduated in 2021 from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was engaged. Following his acceptance to West Point 5 years ago, he said, “I know what to expect, but I don’t know what God has planned for me there. But the main thing I hope to accomplish is just to become the best leader I can be. At the time of his death, he was well on his way.

LT Fitzgibbon is shown here in a photograph taken from his time at West Point. Screenshot from YouTube.

Taber was a Special Forces Medical Sergeant, 18D, assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He enlisted on March 14, 2017.

SSG Taber was a special forces medic, the best of the best. He was originally from Glen St. Mary, Florida. Screenshot from YouTube.

CNN cited a 2018 congressional report on deaths in the military. They found that “Since 2006…a total of 16,652 active duty personnel and mobilized reservists have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Seventy-three percent of these casualties occurred in circumstances unrelated to the war. Anyone who has served can attest to how dangerous training can be. Ideally, we train like we fight.

Past losses

Sadly, deaths during Rangers training are nothing new. In one incident in 1995, recounted by Bradley Graham to The Washington Post, four Ranger candidates died during the swamp phase in Florida. The men had been in the cold swamp water for nearly six hours. This is double the time usually allowed during training. The water was supposed to be about knee deep, but due to recent heavy rains, it swelled up to the men’s chests and necks.

The water temperature was then reported to be 52°F and the ambient air temperature hovered around 65°F. Several contestants had to be medically evacuated due to hypothermia. Two candidates were airlifted to a medical treatment center at Eglin Air Force Base, where they died. A thick fog then rolled in, immobilizing the air ambulances. Frozen soldiers had to be transported by litter to the nearest road where they could be taken to the nearest civilian hospital. A soldier died shortly after his arrival. The fourth loss of life occurred when a soldier was separated from his platoon while crossing a swamp. Her body was found the next morning in waist-deep water.

Regarding this latest loss of life, Colonel Christopher C. Hammonds, commander of the Airborne Training Brigade and Rangers, stated through the Army’s official press release that “Those who volunteer to attend Ranger School represent the best of our military. This loss resonates in our military and throughout our country. »

Rest in peace gentlemen. Thank you for your service to our great nation.



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