Army identifies soldier killing in Alaska bear attack

Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant died in a bear attack. (DoD)

The U.S. Army has identified a soldier who died of injuries sustained in a bear attack on Tuesday in a training area west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill.

Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was part of a small group training in a training area near  Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

A fellow soldier also received minor injuries in the attack.  He was treated and released from a military hospital.

Plant, from Saint Augustine, Florida, joined the active-duty Army in January 2015 after a stint in the reserve component and served at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before arriving to JBER in July 2021.

"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," said Lt. Col. David J. Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander.  "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. His loss is deeply felt within our organization and we offer our sincere condolences to friends and family."

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers said a den with two brown bear cubs was found nearby. The department, in a statement, said after the attack, a brown bear approached the area and officials who responded to the attack used bear spray, an irritant that can deter bears. The bear left, the statement said.

Hair collected during an initial investigation into the attack was consistent with a brown bear, the department said.