United States

Local Soldier Killed in Fort Bragg Training Exercise

The soldier who died was identified as Staff Sgt. Alexander P. Dalida, 32, of Dunstable, Massachusetts

A soldier killed in an apparent demolition accident was training to become a Green Beret experienced in handling explosives.

Staff Sgt. Alexander Dalida of Dunstable, Massachusetts, died Thursday at Fort Bragg during training exercises involving demolitions.

Investigators haven't said whether an explosion caused his death, U.S. Army Special Operations Command Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt said Friday.

Seven other soldiers were injured. Four remained hospitalized Friday, while three others were treated and released, Bockholt said in an email.

All of the soldiers were students from the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, which is based at Fort Bragg, Army officials said.

Dalida, 32, was enrolled in an approximately yearlong course to become part of the U.S. Army Special Forces, also known as Green Berets. He was learning engineering skills as part of the course in which students are trained in occupational specialties. Special Forces engineers are specialists in demolitions, and also have skills necessary for building field fortifications and bridges, according to the Army's recruiting website.

"It's very traumatic," said Dalida family friend and neighbor Vincent Falco.

"They're very strong people, a great family life, loving, but it's pretty crushing," Falco said. "Alex leaves behind a very young wife and four beautiful young daughters."

Dalida's previous military training included working with MH-60 helicopters, airborne operations and learning how to survive while evading capture. Dalida was a crew chief aboard Blackhawk and other helicopters and deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq with aviation units, Bockholt said.

"Staff Sgt. Dalida's death is a reminder that a Soldier's job is inherently dangerous," Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag, the school's commander, said in a statement.

Dunstable Veterans Services Officer Joe Dean says the military is a dangerous job, whether fighting wars overseas or training here at home.

“Knowing his experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually doing some of the training over there,” Dean said. 

For fellow Dunstable military mom Mary Beth Chosse, whose son is a marine training in Arizona, this hits too close to home.

“Obviously my heart aches for them, it’s the worst thing I think a mother could ever go through, but they’re certainly in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be,” Chosse said. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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