An outpouring of sympathy from some of Belgium’s most elite warriors followed the tragic death of a fellow commando who died during a parachute training exercise at a U.S. base in Arizona.
The accident, which is still under investigation, happened Feb. 27 at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Range during a High-Altitude, High-Opening parachute jump.
Belgian television reported the operator was 27-year-old Dimitri “Dimi” Trainis who had only recently joined the elite Belgian Special Forces Group.
The Reddit thread r/MilitaryPorn posted what is believed to be one of the last photos of Trainis in the Southwest desert before a training mission. He had reportedly just finished high-altitude free-fall training and was at Yuma for tactical air insertion training.
“Although young in our unit, you gave us all a lesson which can never be forgotten,” said a post on the Special Forces Group Belgium Facebook page. “Climbing the mountain, reaching for the summit, aiming at the top is what we do, but on our way to the top, we should stop once in a while to enjoy the landscape.”
According to the post, Trainis had recently completed his Special Operations Forces Advanced First Responder course and was at Yuma completing tactical training.
He died while practicing a HAHO jump. Equipped with a heavy backpack, webbing, weapons, and night vision goggles, the jump was supposed to be the beginning of a two-day exercise, according to the post.
“Dimi, we will remember you and our sorrow will be replaced by respect. You choose a life of danger and discomfort to protect others. You lived a life of passion and action. And you died the way you lived,” said the post. “You will always be one of us, in our hearts, in our thoughts, in the sky.”
A 50 kg memorial stone was brought up to the hillside where Trainis died. His body was brought back to his family in Belgium.
The incident is under investigation, according to AZ Central.