May 17, 2005 — Three of four seriously injured Virgin Islands Army National Guardsmen were released Tuesday from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla. The soldiers will be returning to the territory on Thursday escorted by Joint Task Force Commander Lt. Col. Timothy Lake, who met the soldiers upon their transport from the Turks and Caicos.
One soldier remains in serious condition at Jackson Memorial as follow-up treatment continues. Staff Sgt. Clifford Alien will undergo non-emergency surgery later this week, a release from Sgt. 1st Class Karen D. Williams, V.I. National Guard public affairs officer, said Tuesday night. Arrangements are being made with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to get his wife to Miami from the Dominican Republic.
Forty soldiers were injured Sunday afternoon when the KC-135 aircraft they were on encountered turbulence while returning to the V.I. from a routine training mission in Florida. The soldiers, all from St. Thomas, were returning from Weapons Qualification, a yearly training requirement, at Camp Blanding, Fla.
Returning home Thursday from Miami are 1st Sgt. Henry Warner of the 651st GS Maintenance; Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Farrell, military instructor at the 210' Regional Training Institute; and Sgt. Laurel Malone-Francis, medical technician.
Williams singled out Malone-Francis for her fortitude in treating the injured soldiers at the time of the accident, "while enduring her personal pain and injury."
Adjutant Gen. General Eddy L. Charles spoke with the soldiers in Miami by telephone Tuesday afternoon and said they are all in good spirits, according to Williams.
The other 36 soldiers arrived on St. Thomas on a C-130 from the Turks and Caicos Monday evening. They were treated and released by 10 p.m. from Schneider Regional Medical Center. (See "Injured National Guard Arrive Home for Treatment").
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