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War Games Blast Kills Soldier, Injures 2

July 31, 1986|From A Times Staff Writer

RIVERSIDE — An Army soldier was killed and two others were injured Wednesday morning in a demolition training accident during the giant "Gallant Eagle 86" war games being conducted in the Southwest, authorities said.

Details of what was described only as an "explosion" at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, were unavailable, said Air Force Maj. John E. Meyer, spokesman for the 10-day military exercise under way in Southern California and other western states.

"U.S. military authorities are investigating the accident," he said.

The dead man was identified as Michael Rudess, 19, of Oregon, Ohio. He was an Army ranger assigned to Hunter Army Base in Savannah, Ga.

Another soldier, Pfc. Steven Arnold, 21, of Marietta, Ga., was in serious condition at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, 80 miles southeast of the Dugway site where the accident occurred.

Arnold's right hand was nearly severed in the accident, which occurred near the Bonneville Salt Flats. He was in surgery for more than 10 hours, said hospital spokesman John Dwan.

The third victim, 1st Lt. Burdett Thomson, was treated and released.

The exercises, which began Friday in the southern Mojave Desert, about 125 miles east of Los Angeles, involve 35,000 military personnel from all four branches of the armed services and are designed to test combat capabilities in desert conditions.

During a similar exercise in 1982, six soldiers died.

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