A junior infantryman assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team died Thursday after a Humvee rollover crash on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, that hurt three additional troops, according to 18th Airborne Corps releases and a preliminary accident investigation report.
Spc. Luis Herrera, 23, died of injuries sustained when was ejected from the overturned High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, according to the Army Combat Readiness Center’s initial report. The accident happened just before noon Thursday.
According to CRC, “initial reports” suggest none of the solders in the vehicle — all of whom were ejected — were wearing seatbelts.
The corps release said two of the injured troops were admitted to Womack Army Medical Center for treatment, and one was treated there and released.
It’s not clear where on post the accident occurred, nor is it clear what training Herrera and his colleagues were conducting when the vehicle flipped.
Herrera, who joined the Army in November 2017 from Marion, North Carolina, is the fourth soldier to die in an on-duty accident involving a government-owned ground vehicle this fiscal year, and the second to die in a Humvee rollover at Fort Bragg.
Pfc. Patrick J. Hernandez died in October and four other troops were injured when their up-armored Humvee flipped and rolled on a four-lane road. Hernandez, who was in the vehicle’s gunner seat, died shortly after arriving at a local hospital.
Remembering ‘Big Lou’
Herrera, who was known as “Big Lou” by his friends in Raider Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, was married.
His superiors and officials around North Carolina joined in mourning his loss.
“Our thoughts and prayers...are with Spc. Herrera’s wife and loved ones as we mourn the loss of Luis,” said Capt. Daigoroh Abreu, his company commander, in the corps release. “Big Lou’s presence was a gift to us all, and his radiant smile brought warmth to all who knew him.”
His brigade commander, Col. Theodore Kleisner, said Herrera was “a Soldier’s Soldier who always led by example.”
The junior infantryman’s decorations included the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals and the Parachutist Badge, in addition to service medals. He deployed twice to Kuwait in his career.
It’s not clear when the unit memorial service for Herrera will be, but Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C., ordered that all flags at state facilities be lowered to half staff Monday in remembrance of the paratrooper.
Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.