An Air Force investigation report has determined that the misalignment and subsequent fall of a bomb rack unit caused the death of an airman in the early morning hours of March 22 in Southwest Asia.
Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, suffered fatal head injuries while performing maintenance duties as a weapons loader. according to the Air Combat Command Ground Accident Investigation Board report released Thursday. Morrow was deployed with the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron.
Morrow, the weapons load team chief, and her team were transferring a Bomb Rack Unit-61 that contained a single Guided Bomb Unit-39 from an F-15 E Strike Eagle to the munition lift truck, or jammer.
The jammer table had been set up for an empty cradle, and when the bomb rack unit containing the munition was attached to the empty cradle, Morrow did not reposition the table for its new center of gravity, the report said. This caused the load to become unbalanced.
As the munitions lift truck driver transported the munition from under the aircraft to the munitions trailer, Morrow walked alongside the truck, using her hand to prevent horizontal rotation.
When Morrow unstrapped the cradle holding the bomb rack unit, it tipped forward, prompting the staff sergeant to try to stabilize it. The back of the cradle lifted up, causing the front to dip toward the munitions trailer. As Morrow pulled down on the back of the unit to stop it from falling, she lost her footing and fell to the ground, according to the report.
The bomb rack unit fell off the truck and struck Morrow, who was on the ground directly below the unit, causing fatal head injuries.
One of the witnesses to the accident ran forward as the bomb rack unit began to fall but wasn’t able to move it away from Morrow.
Another witness, who was driving a separate munitions lift truck, lifted the unit away from Morrow after it had already fallen, the report said. The driver of the truck that the unit fell from turned off the engine and rushed to Morrow.
According to the report, the bomb rack unit weights 320 pounds empty and up to 1,128 pounds fully loaded. With a single munition, the rack would weigh about 570 pounds, according to the report.
Morrow had difficulty breathing because of her injuries, and the witnesses began performing first aid. However, she was unresponsive as the first responder team arrived.
Morrow was taken to a medical clinic, then was airlifted to the nearest trauma center. The report said Morrow remained unresponsive the entire time with fixed, dilated pupils.
Once at the civilian hospital, resuscitative efforts were unsuccessful and Morrow was pronounced dead.
Morrow, who served in the Air Force for seven years, was assigned to the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. However, she worked for the 322nd overseas, according to a spokesman at the Idaho base.
She earned the nickname “Mother Alex” for her caring personality, according to an Air Forces Central Command news release.
She is survived by her husband and two daughters.
“We mourn for Alexandria Mae Morrow because she was one of the kindest people many of us have ever known,” Lt. Col. Paul Tower, 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron commander, said in the release. “She was a loving wife to her husband, an amazing mother to her children, and our fellow warrior and friend — a friend who could be trusted in the toughest of times.”
On March 26, the Air Force Forum Facebook page posted a photo with a tribute to Morrow. It showed a bomb with the following message:
From: Alexandria Morrow
Here’s a toast”