Shell Explosion Kills Fort Soldier, Injures 37 Other During Drill

8th Division Men Hit After Mortar Fires

Ammunition Withdrawn From Firing Pending Outcome of Probe

One soldier was killed and 37 injured on Fort Jackson firing range yesterday when a 60 – millimeter mortar shell reportedly exploded about 10 feet from the mouth of the gun that fired it.

Eight of the victims were on the “seriously injured” listed and nine suffered only superficial wounds which required minor medical attention.

The 28 who required special attention were in the Fort Jackson station hospital.

The tragedy occurred at 3:30 in the afternoon while members of the Eight infantry division were on a routine period of firing instruction.

Most of the injured were trainees, but there were five instructors and an officer in the group.

A split second after the shell had clear the mouth of the mortar tube, it burst in air, and the soldiers in the surrounding vicinity were showered with the deadly steel fragments.

The casualties were give first aid treatment in the field and rushed by ambulances and other military vehicles to the station hospital.

Col. Kermit H Gates, post surgeon, personally co-ordinated the effort of his staff of doctors, nurses and corpsmen in caring for the injured as fast as there were brought into the hospital.

He said that “every effort was made upon the arrival of the injured men at the hospital to appraise the individuals’ injuries and sort out those men requiring immediate attention.” Eight of the Injured were sent to the operating room for immediate surgery and five others required minor surgical treatment.

“I was particularly want to commend the medical aid men and the uninjured soldiers at the scene of explosion for their prompt application of first aid and their use of field expedience in the emergency,” Colonel Gates said.

The sone fatality, whose name was withheld pending notification of next of kin, died from internal hemorrhaging soon after arrival at the hospital.

The malfunctioning was the first serious accident occurring on the mortar range since the Eighth division was activated last July, and approximately 29,000 trainees have previously received instruction and fired all mortar weapons.

All rounds of ammunition bearing the same lot number, (manufacture’s number) of the defective shell have been withdrawn from firing pending the outcome of the investigation.

Major General Harry J Collins, post and Eighth division commander, commented that during his personal investigation of the incident no evidence of laxity in the instruction and the manner of firing the weapons was apparent.

The general immediately appointed a board of officers to determine the exact cause of the accident.

The injured, their home addressed and next of kin were identifies as follows:

Pvt. Robert B Outlaw, 22, husband of Hazel M Outlaw of Route 2, Bishopville. (Treated at hospital and released).

Pvt. Alonzo D. Medley, 21, son of Pirley Medley of Route 1, Hamlet, N. C. (Treated and released).

Pvt. Rupert L Cooper, 22 son of Ernest B Cooper of Route 1, Marion.

Pvt. Dennis L. Segars, 21, son of Edwina F Segars of Route 1, Carnesville, Ga.

Pvt. David M Craddock, 20, son of Tellie Craddock of Route 1, Creswell, N.C.

Pvt. James C Bowie, 26, son of Azzlee Bowie of Route 3, Abbeville.

Pvt. Luigi R. Crossman, 18, nephew of Marseuritha Jewell of 31 Pearl street, Metuchen, N.J.

Pvt. Charles L Lewis, 21, son of Annie M Lewis of Route 1, Fairmount, Ga.

Pvt. Harold T Tolbert, 20, son of Fred Tolbert, Sr., of Route 4, Gadsden, Ala. (Treated and released).

Pvt. P. L. Noble, Jr., 20, husband of Betty M Noble of 1314 North Fourth street, Attalla, Ala. (Treated and released).

Pvt. Gordon R. Berry, 20, son of Jewel L Berry of 18 Sandusky land, Alabama City, Ala. (Treated and released).

Pvt. Gerue B. Murphy, 21, son of Alma A Murphy of 530 Elm Street, Macon Ga. (Treated and released).

Pvt. Doyle C Jones, 21, son of Edna L Jones of 411 Claude Street, Dalton Ga.

Pvt. Alfred J Ware, 20, son of Audrey J Mickens of 1063 Ellis street, Jacksonville, Fla.

Pvt. John M Greene, Jr., 21, husband of Joann H Greene of 110 Tally road, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Pfc. Charles R. Zimmerman, 22, son of William H. Zimmerman of Route 1, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Pvt. Hubert Turner, 21, son of Ruben Turner of Star Route, Booth’s Point, Tenn.

Pvt. James L Williams, 25, son of Maude S. Williams of Box 91, Hayesville, N.C.

Pvt. Jasper E Moak, 21, son of Kate Moak of Route 2, Blaney.

Pvt. John C. Skinner, 24, son of Mary C. Wall of Colliersville, Tenn. Pvt. Henry E. Noe, 20, son of Barney H Noe of Route 2, Morristown, Tenn.

Pvt. William R Peters, 17, son of Ruth M. Peters of 3017 West Haya street, Tampa Fla.

Pvt. Howard H. Wiley, 20, son of Ethel Wiley of Route 3, Newport, Tenn.

Pvt. John R Shuss, 22, son of Samuel Shuss of McClellantown, Pa.

Pvt. James D Mundy, Jr., 19, son of Leila F. Mundy of Abbeville.

Pvt. Marvin H. Martin, 21, son of Betty H Martin of Route 1, Hamlet, N. C.

Pvt. Clarence E Pyle, 20, sonĀ Fredia Pyle of 22 Angelus street, Memphis Tenn.

Pvt. Stewart H Sewell, 19, son of Paris J Sewell of Route 1, Lavonia, Ga.

Pvt. George W. Welborn, 25, son of George V. Welborn of Route 1, Cycle, N. C.

Pvt. Thomas W Marshall, 20, son of Mrytle Marshall of Route 2, Whitesburg, Tenn.

Second Lieut. Raymond W. White of Centreville, Miss.

Pvt. Gene F. Koonce, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla.

Pvt. Lee C Carter, age and hometown not immediately known.

Pvt. Raymond L. Barnwell, 22, of Gilbert. (Treated and released).

Pvt. Robert Alderman, age and hometown not immediately available.

1951.06.08 - Shell Explosion Kills Fort Soldier, Injures 37 others during Drill
June 8, 1951 State (published as The State) Columbia, South Carolina Page 1

 

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