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‘Unprecedented’ Manufacturing Error Led to Soldier Death

Allegedly the error was so obscure that experts from the Army Safety Center took four days to identify it when investigating Capt. James Ahn's death.

According to the Army Times, it was an "unprecedented" manufacturing defect that led to the death of a soldier who died during a parachute training operation last Fall.

The U.S. Army reported that Capt. James M. Ahn, 29, a U.S. Special Forces Soldier, was found dead after an airborne operation on Sept. 11, 2015 in Mason County, Washington.

According to reports, there was a defect in his pack’s reserve parachute — the line he would pull if he needed a backup — and it had gone unnoticed during four years of use.

Allegedly the error was so obscure — the manufacturer neglected to stitch a 4-inch ring that guides parachute cords — that experts from the Army Safety Center took four days to identify it when they traveled to JBLM to investigate Ahn’s death.

He died while using an MC-4 parachute, a standard piece of equipment for Army Special Forces. After the Safety Center pinpointed the defect, the Defense Department suspended use of its 10,000 MC-4 parachutes. None had a defect like the one in Ahn’s pack.

Capt. Ahn’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Rigger Badge Military Freefall Badge and the Parachutist Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

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