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After the death of a soldier: Bundeswehr confirms mistakes

Friday, September 1st, 2017 | World News

Four soldiers collapsed in July during a practice march. One of them died later. Now the Bundeswehr admits wrong decisions of the superiors, which should have contributed to the tragic incident in July.

It should be noted that "several times not appropriate" decisions were made and measures were applied, the Bundeswehr informed. From the present point of view, however, these are not the only reasons "for the tragic development". Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) said the investigations had not yet been completed.

During an exercise march in the Munster in Lower Saxony on 19 July, a total of four officers were collapsed. One of the soldiers died ten days later in a hospital. According to the Bundeswehr, there is currently still a soldier "in critical condition" in the hospital. The two other soldiers had been released from the hospital.

On Thursday the Bundeswehr presented the provisional final report of an investigation group. Accordingly, the causes that led to the death of the officer candidate and the serious illnesses of the other three soldiers could not yet be fully understood.

Unwanted high physical strain
In a statement, the German Armed Forces issued the "unsuitable" decisions. This included the simultaneous holiday-related absence of several superiors as well as an unusually high physical burden for the beginning of the training of soldiers. In addition, "the suit worn on the training day with the field jacket over the splinter protection vest was not adapted to performance and weathering, but was given by the higher order command".

 So far no clear and common reason for collapse
Von der Leyen told the "Neue Osnabr├╝cker Zeitung" (Friday edition) that the investigation had not found a clear and common ground for the collapse of the soldiers. "So far, in the present report, despite some objectionable behaviors and adverse circumstances, there is no clear, singular cause that could, in itself, explain the death or even the tragic events of the day," she said.

The investigation has not yet been completed, especially since the prosecutor's own investigations lead to new investigations and new information, the Minister added. She praised the "careful and meticulous approach" of the study group. For the entire Bundeswehr it is important "to analyze the causes carefully and to draw the correct conclusions in order to reduce the risk of a repeat of the tragic happenings in the future". She was "very much affected" by the events in Munster.


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