A Ranger serving with the secretive Ranger Reconnaissance Company (RRC) died in a free-fall parachute accident on March 15th.

Sgt. 1st Class Ethan Carpenter was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Special Troops Battalion (STB).

“Sgt. Carpenter was an exemplary soldier and Ranger leader, and a dedicated husband and father. He did the toughest jobs well and was the consummate team member when it counted the most, both in garrison training and in deployed combat. He represented our nation’s best, and we’ll miss him dearly,” said Col. Joseph Ewers, the Officer in Charge of the Regimental STB.

Sergeant Carpenter’s fatal accident marks the first free-fall parachute training death in the Special Operations Command for 2019. In the last four years, nine special operators – not including Sergeant Carpenter – from across the special operations community have been killed in free-fall parachute training, highlighting the dangerous nature of the profession, whether in time of peace of war.

Sergeant Carpenter enlisted in the Army in 2007. After successfully completing the Ranger Indoctrination Program, the predecessor of today’s Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, he joined the 1st Ranger Battalion at Washington State. In July 2017, he successfully completed the rigorous selection process for the RRC, which has been called a mini-Delta Force selection. He had seven deployments in Afghanistan and one in Iraq in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He joined the STB in June 2017.

Although the RRC falls under the 75th Ranger Regiment, it has increasingly been used by the Joint Special Operations Command in operations around the world. The STB is composed of four distinct companies:

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  • The Ranger Communications Company, which provides communications and command and control support to the Regiment.
  • The Ranger Operations Company, which oversees the selection programs necessary to become a Ranger and various other professional development courses.
  • The Military Intelligence Company (MICO), which provides Human Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, and Image Intelligence support. MICO is scheduled to be replaced by the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion.
  • The RRC, which specializes in reconnaissance and surveillance operations and supports both the Regiment and other Special Operations units.

According to an Army Special Operations Command press release, Sergeant Carpenter had earned the Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal with OLC, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Ranger Tab, Military Free-fall Parachutist Badge, Senior Parachutists Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

He leaves behind his wife and his five-year-old daughter.

This article was written by Stavros Atlamazoglou

Image courtesy of the U.S. Army