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National Guardsman killed, 3 injured in California training

FORT IRWIN, Calif. – A Mississippi National Guard member was killed and three others were wounded when their tank rolled over during training in the California desert.

The researchers tried to determine the cause of death and injuries from the Monday evening at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, a remote facility 37 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Barstow in the High Mojave Desert midway between San Bernardino and Las Vegas.

A military helicopter flew the three wounded soldiers in a hospital in Loma Linda. Two have been released, and was in stable condition Tuesday. The names of all four will be withheld until 24 hours after their families are notified.

The members of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, participated in a two-week-long training which focused this week on the maneuver of the tanks, said Kenneth Drylie, spokesman of the centre. Drylie said this week’s planned exercises will not involve live-fire training.

The troops were busy with an armored brigade combat team exercise, which emulates an overseas deployment to a war zone, Drylie said. Also participating in the training are National Guard members from California, Missouri, and the members of the air force.

Later in the training, the troops will participate in a mock battle with 5,000 troops squaring off against the 5,000 others designated as the enemy troops, Drylie said.

He refused to comment further, and says that the accident is being investigated.

Lt.-Col. Christian Patterson, a spokesman for the Mississippi National Guard, said the exercise has been suspended for the unity of the four members belonged to, but the rest of the Mississippi Guard troops still participate. He said no further details would be released to avoid compromising the investigation.

The centre is one of the few places in the country with room for 10,000 troops to fight with each other. It is 10 exercises a year, with all branches of the military use of the facility, Drylie said.

“It is basically like a full implementation of the foreign country, except that it is in the California desert,” Drylie said.

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