Schofield soldier dies in training
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Curtis Lum
A Schofield Barracks soldier was killed and nine others were injured when the truck they were riding in overturned and burst into flames during training exercises Thursday in California.
Killed was Pfc. Alexander E. Creighton, 23, of Romoland, Calif., the military said last night.
Details of the accident were not released by the Army, but the San Bernardino County coroner's office said Creighton was in a covered truck that failed to negotiate an "S" curve along a dirt road. The truck, which was returning from field training at Fort Irwin, Calif., crashed at about 9 a.m. Thursday.
Creighton was unable to get out of the burning truck and was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:34 a.m., the coroner's office said. The other soldiers in the truck escaped and were treated for minor injuries at Weed Army Hospital.
Creighton was an infantryman with the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and was assigned to the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. He was assigned to Schofield in November, five months after joining the Army.
Creighton was among 5,000 Schofield soldiers who are training at Fort Irwin in California's Mojave Desert. The troops arrived there late last month.
Creighton's battalion was playing the role of opposition forces during the exercises with the 3rd Brigade, which also is from Schofield, said Kendrick Washington, Schofield spokesman. Senior leaders also oversee the training and give feedback, he said.
Washington did not say if all 10 soldiers in the truck were from Schofield.
The Army is investigating the cause of the crash.
"The entire Army Hawai'i community is saddened by this loss," Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the commander of the 25th Infantry Division, said in a written statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our soldiers."
About 3,000 soldiers with the 3rd Brigade, 1,000 soldiers and 60 helicopters with the combat aviation brigade, 400 troops with a sustainment brigade and 480 soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry traveled to Fort Irwin last month for about a month of training.
About 7,000 soldiers with the 25th Division are scheduled to go to Iraq in July and August. It will be the largest deployment to the country for the "Tropic Lightning" division. Through 2004, 5,200 Schofield soldiers served in Iraq. Thirteen were killed.
Reach Curtis Lum at email@example.com.