Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is located in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s one of our military’s northernmost installations and is an important focus of winter warfare and arctic capability.
As I wrote about yesterday, Elmendorf is currently upgrading its ability to fight in harsh winter conditions in order to meet future threats from enemies, like Russia and China.
Though the base has also suffered a tragedy recently, with one soldier dead and another injured after a shocking bear attack near the base.
The case is still under investigation, but the soldier has now been identified. We’ve also found out more about what happened in this tragic and bizarre incident.
According to investigators, 30-year-old Staff Sergeant Michael Plant died on Tuesday after being mauled by a bear a few days before. Plant was a paratrooper who belonged to the 3rd battalion and had been stationed at Elmendorf since last summer.
Alaska’s Fish and Game bureau said the attack appeared to be from a mother bear protecting her young bear cubs. A second soldier who has not been identified was also injured in the attack.
Plant came from Florida and was well-liked by others on base. He had been training at the time of the vicious attack in an area on base.
His commander, Lieutenant Colonel David Nelson, said Plant was a hard worker and well-respected. He always went “above and beyond” in helping out and getting the job done.
Alaska Fish and Game is investigating more about what happened. Preliminary searches of the area turned up a number of bear cubs. A large brown mother bear approached as well and was dispersed with bear spray.
It is unclear if she is the same bear who killed Plant.
Army Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant was killed after he and another soldier stumbled upon a bear den on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
— Coffee or Die Magazine (@CoffeeOrDieMag) May 12, 2022
A Tragedy For All Involved
While focusing on training, Plant likely was not looking out for a random and enraged bear. These creatures can be extremely deadly, with razor-sharp claws and huge teeth. Even a brown bear can be very life-threatening.
Bears are generally most dangerous when protecting their cubs or confused and unsure about a possible threat. If you see a bear in the wild, it is recommended to remain completely still.
Do not panic and run, as bears are very fast and may pursue and kill you.
Instead, watch the bear’s body language. If it stands up and starts sniffing a lot, it is likely only curious.
However, if the bear begins roaring at you or starts to chase, this is when you may need to run for your life or use bear spray or a firearm if you have it on hand.
Apart from being a beautiful state, Alaska is a dangerous place when it comes to bears. In fact, 29% of all deadly bear attacks take place in Alaska.
There is an average of one deadly bear attack per year in the United States. There were 40 brown bear attacks last year across the US with about one-third in Alaska. Alaska has brown bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears.
RIP Staff Sergeant Plant.
Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, of Saint Augustine, was pronounced dead at a hospital following the mauling. https://t.co/fnQnMAKMGw
— News 6 WKMG (@news6wkmg) May 13, 2022