A 23-year-old Specialist assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, died in a weapons/explosives mishap 10 March 2022 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, at 0930 local. During an M109A7 calibration firing event, the Soldier attempted to align the breech while the primer was in the breech block. When the system fired, he was struck by the recoiling breech and sustained a significant head injury. The Soldier was treated immediately by the medics and transported to the local hospital. While en route, he stopped breathing. The ambulance crew attempted to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead.
Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of three Soldiers a year to on-duty weapons/explosives mishaps. The last on-duty weapons/explosives fatality occurred in 2019. This mishap is the first on-duty weapons/explosives fatality of FY22.
• Follow all crew coordination drills when conducting live-fire.
• Stand clear of all recoiling parts to avoid injury. Failure to comply may result in death or severe injury to personnel and damage to equipment.
• Ignition of the propelling charge with the breechblock assembly not fully closed presents a critical hazard to the crew. Never insert primer in the primer cavity unless the breechblock assembly is closed and witness marks are aligned. Failure to comply may result in death or severe injury to personnel and damage to equipment.
• Witness marks must be aligned when the breechblock is closed. If witness marks are not aligned, the breechblock may be out of time and need replacement/services.