Identity of Soldier Mauled to Death by Bear in Alaska Revealed by US Army

© / PhotowestMale Grizzly bear walking through a mountain meadow in Canada's province of British Columbia
Male Grizzly bear walking through a mountain meadow in Canada's province of British Columbia  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.05.2022
Secretary of the Army Christine Warmouth told lawmakers last week that an armored battalion could soon be removed from Alaska and replaced with another paratrooper unit, and the 11th Airborne Division reformed.
The US Army revealed on Friday the name of the soldier who was killed by a bear in Alaska earlier this week as Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, of Saint Augustine, Florida.
“Staff Sgt. Plant was an integral part of our organization. He was a positive and dedicated leader who brought joy and energy to the paratroopers who served with him,” Lt. Col. David Nelson, commander of the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said in a statement.
“His loss is deeply felt within our organization and we offer our sincere condolences to friends and family.”
Plant was mauled by a brown bear on May 10 while setting a course for a navigation exercise. He and two other soldiers were scouting an area west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill when they accidentally stumbled upon a sow and her two cubs. The mother bear attacked two of the soldiers, knocking one down and mauling Plant, before running away.
“From the soldier’s perspective, there was a flash of brown mass,” Capt. Derek DeGraaf, head of the Northern Detachment of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, told the New York Times. “They were attacked and didn’t even see it coming.”
Plant was medevaced from the scene of the attack in a National Guard helicopter and taken to the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where he was declared dead.
“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,” Cyndi Wardlow, a regional supervisor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told Alaska Public Media.
The DFG told the outlet it was still looking for the bear responsible for the attack.
The northernmost US state is widely known for the wildlife that flourishes in its boreal forest, mountains and tundra, including all three types of bears seen in North America: Black, Brown and Polar.
“Even if you don't see a bear, you will never be far from one,” the DFG website notes. “Alaska is bear country.”
Still, fatal bear attacks are uncommon in The Last Frontier: before Monday’s attack, the most recent was in September 2020, when a man was killed during a moose hunt in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
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