Col. Darron L. Wright, seen here in 2010 after his unit entered Kuwait from Iraq, died Monday while conducting a parachute jump at Sicily Drop Zone. (Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press)
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A paratrooper killed during a parachute training exercise Monday has been identified as 46-year-old Col. Darron L. Wright.
Wright, the 18th Airborne Corps assistant chief of staff for plans (G-5), died while conducting “a standard MC-6 parachute jump at Sicily Drop Zone,” according to a statement fromFort Bragg, N.C.
Wright, of Mesquite, Texas, is survived by his wife and three children.
Experienced jumpers and onlookers described Wright’s parachute malfunction as a cigarette roll, which requires the user to activate a reserve chute, the Fort Bragg Patch reported.
The MC-6 tactical assault parachute was introduced to replace the MC-1 series. It was designed to turn almost twice as fast as its predecessor, which allows special operators to maneuver onto smaller drop zones.
In a news release this morning, Lt. Gen. Joe Anderson, commander of 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, and others, lamented Wright’s death.
“We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s events and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Anderson said. “The 18th Airborne Corps has sustained the loss of a superb paratrooper and a magnificent officer who served with marked distinction and honor throughout his career.”
Wright’s deputy, Lt. Col. Michael Moore, called him an outstanding leader and patriot whose loss leaves a void in their team.
“The entire G-5 team is saddened and shocked by this tragedy,” Moore said. “We will truly miss his leadership, experience and energy.”
Wright, who served three tours in Iraq, authored the book, “Iraq Full Circle,” which offers a personal, firsthand assessment of the war, according to an Amazon.com summary.
Wright graduated from the University of North Texas in 1991 and was commissioned as an infantry officer through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
His previous assignments include 1st Corps, Fort Lewis, Wash.; 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; 1st Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Polk, La.; 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with V device, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, the Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, and Senior Parachutist Badge.
The last soldier to die in a parachute training accident at Fort Bragg was Staff Sgt. Jamal Clay of the 82nd Airborne. He was using the Army’s new square-shaped T-11 parachute, which malfunctioned during a jump at Sicily Drop Zone.