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Soldier mauled by bear at base in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska National Guard soldier was mauled by a bear while participating in a training exercise at a military base, officials said.

The female brown bear was defending her two cubs when it mauled the Alaska Army National Guard soldier Sunday morning at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

The soldier's name was not immediately released. He was listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon at the base hospital. No other details about his condition were immediately available.

The soldier was participating in a land navigation exercise, according to Guard spokeswoman Maj. Candis Olmstead. The exercise involves giving soldiers compasses and maps and timing them as they make their way alone to hidden locations on the course.

The soldier was going through the woods when he encountered the bear and her cubs late Sunday morning.

"He dropped to the ground, covered his head and remained still," Olmstead said.

The bear approached the soldier, swatting at him and biting him before retreating after about 30 seconds. The soldier blew a safety whistle, alerting medics stationed nearby, Olmstead said.

The soldier was not armed at the time of the mauling, and Olmstead said she didn't know if he was carrying bear spray.

Sunday's attack was the second mauling at the base in about two months.

Jessica Gamboa was badly mauled May 18 as she jogged on a trail and encountered a bear and her two cubs.

Gamboa, the wife of a soldier stationed at the base, has said she didn't scream or fight during the attack, and the bear left her bleeding in an embankment. She sustained cuts to her neck, arms and legs, a torn ear and neck fractures.

She was rushed to a hospital by a soldier who was driving by when he saw her walking down the road holding both hands to her bleeding neck.

It was not immediately clear whether the same bear was involved in both maulings.

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charpist5 July 21 2014 at 6:47 PM

Please, don't kill the mama bear and leave the cubs defenseless. It is, after all, THEIR territory.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
6 replies
bshum3 July 21 2014 at 6:31 PM

In Florida you carry a snake stick and mosquito spray . In bear country you make noise and look carefully when going into corners and blind spots . And you never forget your bear spray ..

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
vinkbear bshum3 July 21 2014 at 7:00 PM

And carry a large caliber revolver or a rifle.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aaldrew bshum3 July 21 2014 at 7:57 PM

A powerful handgun also.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
stephen284 July 21 2014 at 9:18 PM

So let me get this straight: We send National Guard troops for navigational training in Alaska, but leave them defenseless. That's kinda like our military bases; leave everyone except attackers unarmed.

As a side note, bears have their young in the spring. They are also very active then. they also like to eat. Humans look like food. If you don't want to be on their menu, stay out of their way.

To paraphrase: When in Alaska, do as Alaskans do. Carry bear spray, a bear bell, a firearm, and watch your back. A firearm may be necessary as some brown bears have been known to eat humans who have a nice pepper taste. They look at bear spray as seasoning. In that situation, you need to shoot the bear.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
ram4131 July 22 2014 at 11:43 AM

OK......this has happened twice? Guns or bear spray is something you DON'T keep with you? Bon apetit, Yogi

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Merle July 21 2014 at 7:40 PM

hopefully, in future training they will provide bear spray.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
vinkbear July 21 2014 at 6:59 PM

The media won't report that the momma bear was heard saying "I can see Russia from here" before grunting "Benghazi...... impeach.....".

I bet that Momma Grizzly won't be hard to locate.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
JC vinkbear July 21 2014 at 8:14 PM

So as long as we're making inane political comments, I'd like to commend the Israelis on how vigorously they're defending their cubs.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Welcome King July 21 2014 at 10:07 PM

My idea of Bear Spray is a rifle.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Linda Jones July 22 2014 at 1:03 PM

He was in bear country but was unarmed and not carrying bear spray (or not smart enough to use it)...not too bright...this guy is defending our country...ROFLMAO.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
glogic Linda Jones July 22 2014 at 6:15 PM

What is so funny about a soldier not being allowed to arm himself with a gun or bear spray?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bigcatdaddy July 21 2014 at 11:32 PM

That bear should be turned into a rug and real soon.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
3 replies
chrlbrw1122 July 22 2014 at 10:09 AM

My heart goes out to the Solder, he should not have to worry about Bears on a Military Base. Besides I belive no solder should be without a gun any time on a Military Base.What if some how Terrorist attack a Base? The few MPs are not enough, and may be too far.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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