Air Force special operator killed in fall during Idaho mountain rescue training
By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 10, 2019
WASHINGTON — An Air Force pararescueman from Virginia who had served in Afghanistan was killed Tuesday from injuries that he sustained while conducting mountain training in Idaho, the service said.
Tech. Sgt. Peter Kraines, 33, was practicing mountain rescue techniques near Boise when he was killed, the Air Force said Thursday. Kraines was a special tactics pararescueman — Air Force medics trained to locate, recover and treat servicemembers injured on the battlefield, including behind enemy lines. He was assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing based at Fort Bragg, N.C., the service said.
The Air Force said it was investigating the incident that led to Kraines’ death but provided no additional details. However, local law enforcement officials said Kraines had suffered blunt force trauma after falling some 40 feet while climbing at a popular location just outside Boise called the Black Cliffs.
Patrick Orr, a spokesman for the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, said investigating deputies believe Kraines fell as a result of an equipment error, according to the Idaho Press newspaper.
“This is a tragic loss to the special tactics community,” said Air Force Col. Matthew Allen, commander of the 24th SOW. “We are grateful for the support from our community and our [Air Force Special Operations Command] teammates. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and teammates at this time.”
Kraines enlisted in the Air Force in 2011 after graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University the previous year. He had been assigned to Fort Bragg since 2017 and had previously served with the 347th Rescue Group, which is based at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. He served a 2015 deployment to Afghanistan, working to find and rescue injured servicemembers out of Bagram Airfield. In 2017, he deployed to Diyarbakir, Turkey, according to his service records.
The Air Force said Kraines had undergone extensive training during his career. He was a military static-line jumper, free-fall jumper, an Air Force combat scuba diver and certified as an emergency medical technician, the service said.
His awards included the Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal, according to his records.