Less than four seconds after Sgt. Shaina Schmigel jumped from a C-17 as part of a nighttime airborne operation, she was being dragged behind the aircraft. She became entangled in the next jumper's suspension lines and died of severe neck injuries.
Schmigel, 21, was killed after she jumped with a T-11 parachute at Holland Drop Zone on May 30, 2014. An investigation into her death found the most glaring error was the jump master's failure to inspect the static lines of her parachute.
Schmigel was an intelligence analyst with the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. She joined the Army in 2010 and had been assigned to 2nd Brigade since June 2011.
Paratroopers administered first aid when they found her on the ground, but she was declared dead at the drop zone.
Changes in airborne operations were formed from recommendations made by investigators after Schmigel's death, said Master Sgt. Patrick Malone, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division.
"This accident was thoroughly investigated, and the entire airborne community has implemented measures that will mitigate the probability of similar accidents happening in the future," he said. "Airborne operations are inherently high-risk, and we are committed to ensuring they are executed as safely and effectively as possible."
Maj. Gen. John Nicholson, then-commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, ordered an investigation into Schmigel's death in June 2014.
The nearly 300-page investigation includes airborne operation briefings and manifests, interviews with witnesses and flight data.
Investigators said there is no evidence that the aircrew, aircraft or weather contributed to Schmigel's death, but there were several areas of negligence that needed to be addressed as safety factors, according to the report obtained by The Fayetteville Observer through the federal Freedom of Information Act.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/not-my-baby-girl-investigation-into-paratrooper-death-leads-to/article_2409f636-8eff-5ba6-a3a7-e17d201b04d0.html
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.
All Bergdahl Beyonce Civilian In The Barracks Ebola Enterprise Green Beret Hearing Humanitarian Mission Hurricane Relief Inactivation Iraq ISIS Mall Gunman Operation Toy Drop President Obama Profiles Public Records Realignment Short-notice Deployment Training Deaths Training Exercises VA Videos