Update: Fort Lewis this afternoon identified the soldier killed in the Yuma accident as Pfc. Bryant Christopher Compean, 19, of El Campo, Texas. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment and arrived at Fort Lewis last May.
Otherwise, we’re still waiting on Fort Lewis and the Army for more details about the accident at the Yuma Proving Ground.
Fort Lewis public affairs officials Wednesday evening and again Thursday said they had limited information from the unit of the soldiers involved, an infantry company from the 4/9, which is part of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. They said the company is in Yuma for unspecified testing that the soldiers can’t do at Lewis.
A post spokesman this afternoon said 4/9 officers told him the company was invited to Yuma to conduct a classified training mission. The company live-fire during which the accident occurred was independent of that training mission – the unit was taking advantage of down time and Yuma’s ranges to get in some shooting, the spokesman said.
Yuma is one of the Army’s biggest test ranges. It’s not a place where Lewis soldiers would usually go for routine training — they go to Yakima for that. More likely it’s for some new Stryker-related weapons system, like the Mobile Gun System. Yuma public affairs officials haven’t returned my e-mails yet.
Fort Lewis officials said the accident did not involve the Land Warrior System, an all-in-one, wearable combat computer and communications system. The 4/9 is the designated test and evaluation battalion for the LWS.
They also said they wouldn’t likely say much more about the accident until the Army completes an investigation.