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Thursday, April 13, 2000



Soldier killed,
4 hurt during
Big Isle training

The 25th Infantry men
were using explosives
in the night exercise

By Gregg K. Kakesako
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

One 25th Infantry Division soldier was killed and four others were injured during a training exercise involving explosives at the Big Island's Pohakuloa Training Area.

The accident occurred at 8:35 p.m. yesterday as the soldiers were learning how to clear an obstacle, using explosives, at the 108,975 acre training area located in the saddle between the Big Island's Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.

The exercise involved the use of a bangalore torpedo, which the Army described as a tubular device with a 10-pound explosive at the end, used to blast through barbed wire. However, the Army would not say whether the torpedo caused the accident.

One soldier, who is from the mainland, was killed at the scene, Pohakuloa's range 10.

Two others were taken to Hilo Hospital. One was released after being treated for minor injuries, but the second, and two others, were flown to Tripler Army Medical Center on Oahu. Their condition was listed as stable, according to Army spokesman, Capt. Rich Spiegel.

More than 500 Schofield Barracks soldiers have been training at Pohakuloa for the past five days and are expected to return to Wahiawa sometime next week.

This was the first major training mishap at Pohakuloa this year. Last year seven Kaneohe Marines suffered minor injuries June 23 when the CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter they were in made a hard landing at one of Pohakuloa's landing zones. The seven were treated at Hilo Hospital and released.

On Oct. 14, 1990, a 25-year-old Hawaii Army National Guard soldier was killed and two other soldiers slightly injured when they were fired on by an M-60 machine gun. It was the National Guard's first fatality during a training exercise.

Two Marines were killed and 15 injured when they were hit by wayward mortar rounds during another training exercise on July 6, 1988.

Pohakuloa has been the Army's premiere training range in the islands where the military can fire a variety of weapons ranging from rifles to artillery and anti-tank missiles. More than 200,000 soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen train there annually.



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