Army Investigating Vehicle Crash That Left 7 US Soldiers Injured on German Highway

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Germany Military Accident
Damaged military vehicles are seen on the side of the A6 highway near Amberg, Germany following an accident on Monday, April 17, 2023. (Haubner/dpa via AP)

The Army is investigating a crash in Germany that injured seven soldiers Monday after two military vehicles collided on a highway.

The commander of the unit, the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said that none of the injuries were life-threatening. The conditions of the soldiers are unknown, though one was airlifted while the other six were transported by ambulance to local hospitals.

While the Army investigation is ongoing -- in conjunction with German officials -- an early hypothesis from the service suggests that the two military vehicles were avoiding a civilian semi-truck traveling in the same section of the A6 autobahn outside of Ursensollen, Germany, and then collided with each other.

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The two military vehicles involved were a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, or MRAP, and a Stryker equipped with an air defense system, also known as a Mobile Short Range Air Defense Stryker, according to Col. Martin L. O'Donnell, a spokesperson for U.S. Army Europe and Africa.

"We think that a local national semi-truck sort of did an abrupt merge which then caused the vehicles to either break or take evasive action and the military vehicles collided with one another," O'Donnell told Military.com Tuesday. "There were no host nation vehicles or anything like that damaged in this incident."

The vehicles "were involved in an accident [yesterday] while convoying from Shipton Kaserne, a small U.S. Army post outside of Ansbach, Germany, to Grafenwoehr Training Area in Grafenwoehr, Germany," O'Donnell said.

The M-SHORAD, as the air defense vehicle is called, is a relatively new variant of the Stryker, and 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, a subordinate of the 10th AAMDC was the first to test and field it in 2021, according to O'Donnell.

Vehicle accidents, including those stateside, are a top fatality risk for soldiers. Last year, Military.com reported that Army investigations had found fatalities often occurred when soldiers were not wearing seat belts or other restraints, and some crashes were caused by sleep deprivation and lack of training.

O'Donnell said that "several" of the troops taken to local hospitals have been cleared and released, but out of an abundance of caution, others are remaining under observation and will be released soon.

"We at 10th AAMDC would like to thank all the first responders for reacting quickly and saving the lives of our soldiers," Brig. Gen. Maurice Barnett, commander of 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said in a statement. "Right now our focus is on the wellbeing of our Soldiers and the notification of their families. We are making sure that they have everything they need."

-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at drew.lawrence@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

Related: Soldiers Keep Dying in Vehicle Accidents. The Army Blames Not Wearing Seat Belts and Complacency.

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