HomeNewsUS Army Identifies Soldier Who Died After Bear Attack During Training Exercise in Alaska

US Army Identifies Soldier Who Died After Bear Attack During Training Exercise in Alaska

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Following a fatal bear attack in Alaska, the US Army identified the victim to be Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant. On Tuesday, Plant died after an encounter with a sow that was protecting her cubs. Another soldier was also involved in the attack but only suffered minor injuries. Although, the Army has yet to reveal the identity of this second individual.

According to the US Army’s official release on Thursday, 30-year-old Plant was an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. At the time of the attack, Plant was working in a training area at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson (JBER).

“Staff Sgt. Plant was an integral part of our organization,” said Lt. Col. David J. Nelson, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment in a statement. “He was a positive and dedicated leader who brought joy and energy to the paratroopers who served with him.”

Prior to his time in Alaska, Plant completed a tour in Afghanistan. He arrived at the JBER in July 2021. On Tuesday, medical officials pronounced him dead at the military base’s hospital.

“He always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him,” Nelson said. “His loss is deeply felt within our organization, and we offer our sincere condolences to friends and family.”

Plant’s career in the US Army began in 2015 after serving as a reservist. He previously served at Fort Benning in Georgia and Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Alaska Wildlife Officials Say Bear Attack That Killed Army Soldier Was Defensive in Nature

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game stated that the area of the state where Plant was working was particularly remote. Once department employees arrived at the scene, they located a bear den close by. Inside, there were two brown bear cubs. During the investigation, officials collected animal hair samples that also matched a brown bear.

“From everything we know so far, based on the scene investigation and information from other responding agencies, this appears to be a defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs,” said Cyndi Wardlow, Southcentral Regional Supervisor for the department in the news release. “We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska.”

Currently, Army Criminal Investigation Division personnel are working with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to further investigate the incident.

According to the ADFG, bears that are “a public safety threat” or are a part of “a fatal attack” may be subject to euthanization.