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Soldier from St. Augustine dies of injuries from bear attack in Alaska

Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, honored by fellow soldiers.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A U.S. Army Alaska Soldier died of injuries sustained in a bear attack May 10 while working in a JBER training area near Anchorage. A fellow Soldier also received minor injuries in the attack, according to a statement from U.S. Army Alaska Headquarters, Joint Base Elmendorf in Richardson, Alaska.

Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, continued the statement, an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was transported to the JBER hospital after the mauling where he was declared dead.

The other injured soldier was treated and released, according to officials.

Plant, who was 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, the statement read.

“Staff Sgt. Plant was an integral part of our organization. He was a positive and dedicate 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," Col. Nelson continued, "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.”

Staff Sgt. Plant's 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, according to officials.

Army Criminal Investigation Division personnel are being assisted by and working in conjunction with the 673d Security Forces Squadron, 673d Civil Engineering Squadron Conservation Law Enforcement Officers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Alaska Department of Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Alaska Joint Base in Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, according to statement.

More information about the attack will be announced as it becomes available.

Questions about the bear, bear attacks and bear safety can be directed to Cyndi Wardlow, Regional Supervisor- Region 2, Alaska Department of Fish & Game Wildlife Conservation at 907-267-2529 or cynthia.wardlow@alaska.gov.