Fort Bragg Soldier Killed in Humvee Wreck as Congress Weighs Safety Overhaul

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A Humvee sits behind a concertina wire
A III Corp Humvee sits behind a concertina wire barrier during Warfighter 21-4 March 29, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke)

A Fort Bragg, North Carolina, soldier was killed and four others injured in a Humvee incident on the base Monday, the second deadly crash there since June as Congress weighs overhauling military vehicle safety measures.

The deadly incident occurred just after noon on a main base thoroughfare and is under investigation. The Army declined Tuesday to immediately provide further details, such as the names of the victims, and it was unclear whether other vehicles were involved.

A military vehicle wreck that happened on the way to training in June killed Cpl. Mojave Littlejohn, 21, at Fort Bragg.

"Anytime you lose a soldier on-post in a situation outside of combat, it hurts. It's a tragic loss," Col. Joe Buccino, a base spokesperson, said in a statement about the latest deadly incident.

The Government Accountability Office published a report in July that found 123 troops across the Army and Marine Corps died in 3,753 non-combat tactical vehicle incidents between 2010 and 2019.

The figures, especially deadly incidents tied to training, have spurred action in Congress. The House passed an annual defense authorization bill with a number of provisions aimed at vehicle safety, training and investigations.

"Right now, a cascading series of failures within the military is causing the U.S. to lose more service members in preventable training accidents than in combat," Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., who chairs the House Armed Services Committee's readiness subcommittee, said in a statement when the GAO report was released.

Fort Bragg did not immediately say whether the deadly Humvee incident was directly related to a training exercise.

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GAO investigators described overconfidence, complacency and driver error as being to blame for many military tactical vehicle mishaps over the last decade. Most occurred in relatively safe conditions during the day, in parking lots or on roads.

The report noted that 342 of the accidents caused serious injuries or more than $500,000 in damages. In many cases, drivers of vehicles had received rushed or minimal training.

The House version of the annual defense bill includes an amendment sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., that seeks to make the Pentagon follow the GAO report's recommendations.

The watchdog agency recommended more clearly defined roles for vehicle commanders, procedures to help supervisors enhance tactical vehicle safety, and performance criteria and measurable standards for driver training programs.

"These proposals to improve tactical vehicle safety should significantly reduce the risk of future training accidents," Buchanan, whose constituent Nicholas Panipinto was killed in a training accident in South Korea in 2019, said in a statement after the House passed its bill.

The legislation, which still must be negotiated with the Senate, also has a provision creating a pilot program to determine the feasibility of using data recording devices on combat vehicles, similar to black boxes on airplanes.

The bill would establish a joint council to update safety regulations, create uniform data collection standards, and review each military service's safety management system.

A new review board would provide independent assessments of vehicle mishap investigations under the legislation.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

-- Rebecca Kheel can be reached at rebecca.kheel@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @reporterkheel.

Related: Army and Marines Aren't Doing Enough to Prevent Deadly Vehicle Accidents, Watchdog Says'

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