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BAMBERG, Germany — An apparent explosion during a training exercise Monday night at Fort Bragg, N.C., has injured ten Camp Lejeune-based servicemembers, according to a 2nd Marine Division spokesman.

Eight Marines and two Navy personnel were hurt in what appeared to be an in-bore explosion on a M777A2 155 mm howitzer during “Exercise Rolling Thunder” around 8 p.m., according to Marine Staff Sgt. Jayson Price.

The names of the injured and their current conditions were not released. Training was paused at the end of the day Tuesday and won’t resume until it is deemed safe, Price said.

Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, said a team of ammunition specialists from Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., was en route to investigate the incident.

The M777A2 is the newest howitzer system in the U.S. military and is being used by troops in Afghanistan. It is the first upgrade in medium-range field howitzers since the late 1970s.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Woods — whose field artillery regiment stationed in Bamberg, Germany, used the weapon system during its most recent deployment — said there are many things that could cause a premature detonation in the weapon, such as an obstruction in the tube or poor manufacturing of the tube and round. He could not speculate on what caused the explosion.

Stars and Stripes’ Pat Dickson and Seth Robson contributed to this report.


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