FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The results of an investigation show human error caused the deaths of a soldier and his drill sergeant last month during training in the use of grenades at Fort Leonard Wood, officials said Friday.
Sgt. Joseph A. Hall, 26, of Greenville, Miss., and Pvt. Keith Jones, 21, of Detroit were killed in the accident Oct. 9.
Investigators concluded Jones inadvertently armed a grenade while preparing to throw it down range, said Maj. Dave Russell, spokesman at the south-central Missouri Army post.
Neither Jones nor Hall apparently realized the grenade was about to explode.
After reviewing the investigative reports, Maj. Gen. James van Lobensels concluded that human error caused the accident.
Hall was a drill sergeant assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry in the 3rd Basic Training Brigade. Jones was assigned to the unit for basic training.
The accident occurred at Range 31 during training in the use of M-67 fragmentation hand grenades. Both men died at the scene, Russell said.
The grenades used on the range Oct. 9 were part of a lot that had been suspended from use by the Army Sept. 29 because of problems with excessive duds, munitions that fail to explode when armed, Russell said.
While that lot of grenades should not have been issued for use that day, the previous problems did not figure in the explosion, he said.
Also, traces of alcohol were present in Hall's body at the time of the accident, but that also was not a contributing factor, he said.
As a result of the accident, officials at Fort Leonard Wood have made changes in training procedures to prevent any recurrence, Russell said.