82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper dies in airborne training incident

Sgt. Shaina B. Schmigel, 21, was an intelligence analyst with the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
An 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper died Friday during a T-11 airborne training exercise at Holland Drop Zone.

Sgt. Shaina B. Schmigel, 21, of Medina, N.Y., was an intelligence analyst with the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

"Every parent's worried for their children, you know?" asked Karie Schmigel in an interview with Buffalo, N.Y. ABC affiliate, WKBW. "I just had to be strong for her because that's what she wanted to do. This was her career....I just had to be strong."

Schmigel described a determined, career-drive daughter with a bright personality.

"A go-getter....nothing was stopping her," said Schmigel. "She had no fear."

Schmigel joined the Army in Aug. 2010. She completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. She also trained at Fort Benning in Georgia before reporting to the 82nd Airborne Division where she was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team in June 2011.

Schmigel deployed to Iraq from July to November 2011.

She earned many awards and decorations, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. She also earned the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

"All of the Paratroopers in the brigade are deeply saddened by the loss of an extraordinary and much-respected member of our team," said Lt. Col. Albert Paquin, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this time of great loss. Our chaplains and our health care professionals are available to help comfort and support all of her fellow Paratroopers affected by this tragedy."

"I used to talk to her three times a week, four times," Schmigel cried. "I don't have that now."

THE PARACHUTE

Nearly three years ago, Fort Bragg lost another paratrooper during training, and the same parachute Schmigel used was determined to have malfunctioned.

Following the June 2011 death of Staff Sergeant Jamal Clay, the Army briefly suspended the use of the T-11, re-evaluating training and the way the chute is packed.

The T-11 was introduced to the Army in 2010, and is designed to carry 50 more pounds than its predecessor, the T-10. The ability to carry 400 pounds accommodated the heavier loads soldiers had to carry in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2012, Fort Bragg leaders touted the advanced technology during a jump featuring XIII Airborne Corps commanders. At the time, a Post press release said they were jumping to "demonstrate a vote of confidence" with the parachute.

In February, the U.S. Army Public Health Command released results of a safety study involving Fort Bragg paratroopers. Researchers determined the newest parachute was more effective in reducing injuries than the T-10, which had been in use since 1952.

The cause of Schmigel's death is under investigation.

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