Accident kills soldier, hurts 12 during training exercise at JRTC/Fort Polk

Involved in the accident were two M1113 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees)

Accident kills soldier, hurts 12 during training exercise at JRTC/Fort Polk
The late Staff Sgt. Jacob A. Hess, 34, of Belton, Mo. [Source: U.S. Army photo/95th Civil Affairs Brigade]

JOINT READINESS TRAINING CENTER/FORT POLK, La. (KSLA) - A soldier died and a dozen more were wounded in a training accident Wednesday at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.

The rollover accident involved two M1113 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees), said Maj. Beth Riordan, spokeswoman for 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne).

The soldier who died is 34-year-old Staff Sgt. Jacob A. Hess, of Belton, Mo.

He was assigned to 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne) at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Riordan said.

“On behalf of the soldiers and families of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, I extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to Staff Sgt. Hess’ family,” Col. Charles R. Burnett, the brigade’s commander, said in a statement released Thursday.

“Jacob’s character and professionalism display his dedication and service to the brigade and its mission,” he continued. "Jacob was a talented non-commissioned officer and dedicated member of the brigade. He will be greatly missed by those who had the great fortune and opportunity to know him.”

Hess has been posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Authorities said the injuries to the 12 soldiers are not life-threatening.

They are assigned to 95th Civil Affairs Brigade plus the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and the 72nd Military Police Company of the Nevada Army National Guard in Las Vegas.

The accident is being investigated by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, which has its headquarters at Fort Rucker in Alabama.

The Nevada Army National Guard previously reported that four of its Guardsmen were hurt when a military vehicle overturned, CBS affiliate KALB reported Wednesday.

The accident happened at 3 a.m. Wednesday, the Guard reported.

“Safety is paramount in all that we do,” Brig. Gen. William Burks, Nevada National Guard adjutant general, is quoted as saying in a news release.

“We train as we fight; and, unfortunately, accidents occur during realistic training in dynamic environments,” he continued.

“Our sympathies go out to the family of the individual that was killed. We are closely monitoring this situation and hope for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.”

Copyright 2019 KSLA. All rights reserved.