On May 10, a U.S. Army soldier passed away at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) near Anchorage, Alaska, due to injuries sustained in a bear attack.
According to a press release from JBER, the 673d Security Forces Squadron initially responded to the incident and Alaska Wildlife Troopers are currently searching for the bear. The area is also currently closed to the public for all recreation activities. Authorities are withholding the name of the soldier pending contact with his next-of-kin.
According to Army Times, the soldier was part of a small group training west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill when he was attacked by the bear.
Details surrounding the attack like which species of bear was involved have not yet been released.
The base, which houses Army, Air Force, and National Guard units, abuts the largest city in the state but contains large swaths of undeveloped, densely forested land where residents and military personnel can apply for moose and bear tags.
Anchorage is home to about 40% of Alaska’s human population, but it’s also home to many black and brown bears. While the landscape offers abundant natural food sources like berries, salmon, ungulates, and plants for bears to feast on, the smell of garbage is a potent attractant that could have played a role in this tragic scenario.
We send our deepest condolences to the friends and family of this soldier.