US Army identifies soldier killed in bear attack

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Army said a second soldier was injured when a soldier was attacked by a bear and killed during a training exercise in Alaska.

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In a news release from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where the soldiers who were attacked were stationed, officials said Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, was killed by injuries he sustained when he was attacked by a bear May 10.

Army officials said a second soldier had minor injuries from the bear attack and was treated and released from the base hospital.

The two men had been with a small group training west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill, as we previously reported.

Plant was from Saint Augustine, Florida, and joined the Army in January 2015 before arriving at JBER in 2021, the Army said.

“Staff Sgt. Plant was an integral part of our organization. He was a positive and dedicated leader who brought joy and energy to the paratroopers who served with him,” Lt. Col. David Nelson, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said in a statement. “He always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him. His loss is deeply felt within our organization and we offer our sincere condolences to his friends and family.”

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game told The Associated Press that a den with two brown bear cubs was found near the attack site. The U.S. Army said that a brown bear approached the area when officials responded to the attack but left after they used bear spray. Officials told the AP that evidence suggests the soldiers were injured by a “defense attack by a female bear protecting her cubs.”

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