FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – Eight special operations soldiers were injured in an explosion on Fort Bragg Thursday morning, military officials confirmed. Officials later confirmed that at least one person had died.
The Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office confirmed that Staff Sgt. Alexander P. Dalida, 32, of Dunstable, Massachusetts, was killed.
Dalida was a student in the Special Forces Engineer Course, officials said.
Longtime Dunstable, Massachusetts, neighbor Vinnie Falco told CBS’s Boston affiliate, WBZ, that he remembered Dalida playing on his lawn as a child.
“Alex was a typical young American boy growing up in a small town here in New England,” he said. “His family was a very loving and enjoyable family.”
The Army described the mishap as “a demolitions training incident involving students and cadre at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.”
“The special operations community is a close-knit family. At the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, we consider every student who enters our institution a part of our SWCS family. Staff Sgt. Dalida’s death is a reminder that a Soldier’s job is inherently dangerous. Our thoughts and prayers are with Staff Sgt. Dalida’s family and friends,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag, Commander of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, in a news release.
Dalida joined the Army in Sept. 2006 and after basic and advanced training served in aviation units before attending Special Forces Assessment and Selection, officials said.
The soldiers were taken to the Army base’s Womack Army Medical Center for treatment, Lt. Col. Rob Bockholt, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command, which is based at Fort Bragg, said. Later, the Army said that soldiers were taken to multiple area hospitals.
At least one soldier was later transported to UNC Hospital, officials confirmed.
“There was an incident that occurred on one of the ranges,” Bockholt said, adding that U.S. Army Special Command is investigating. “We’re looking into exactly what happened.”
About 57,000 military personnel are attached to Fort Bragg, located next to Fayetteville. It is the largest Army installation by population and covers about 161,000 acres. The Special Operations Command has about 23,000 soldiers spread over several sites.