FORT IRWIN — Sgt. Kyle Clayton Thomas was identified as the man killed during a training exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin on May 29, according to Director of Public Affairs Mississippi National Guard Lt. Col. Christian Patterson.
The incident occurred when Thomas, 24, of the Senatobia-based 2nd Battalion, 198th Armored Regiment, and four 2-198 AR soldiers were conducting combat maneuver operations in a tank. The vehicle was involved in a rollover incident, killing Thomas, who is a native of Amory, Mississippi.
Three others were injured and transferred by military helicopter to Loma Linda University Medical Center. They have all since been released from the hospital.
The incident remains under investigation, however, the 2-198 AR — a subordinate battalion within the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team — has resumed operations.
The members of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, were participating in a two-week-long training, which focused this week on maneuvering tanks, said Kenneth Drylie, spokesman for the center. Drylie said last week's scheduled exercises did not involve live-fire training.
The troops were doing an armored brigade combat team exercise, which emulates an overseas deployment to a war zone, Drylie said. Also participating in the training are National Guard members from California, Missouri and members of the Air Force.
Later in the training, troops will participate in a mock battle with 5,000 troops squaring off against 5,000 others designated as enemy forces, Drylie said.
He declined to comment further, saying the accident is under investigation.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to Sgt. Thomas’ family and friends,” said Col. Doug Ferguson, commander of the 155th ABCT. “We have lost a valuable member of our team and this loss will be felt across the brigade.”
The center is one of the few places in the country with room for 10,000 troops to battle each other. It does 10 such training exercises a year with all branches of the military using the facility, Drylie said.
"It's basically like a full deployment overseas except that it's in the California desert," Drylie said.