On Tuesday, a Marine Raider was killed during a static-line parachute jump while in the U.S. Army’s Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Sergeant Wolfgang Weninger was a Critical Skills Operator (CSO) assigned to the Marine Raider Training Center. He was set to graduate from Airborne training on Friday. Marine Special Operations Forces (MARSOC) said that his death is under investigation.
Sgt Weninger was going through advanced training, following his graduation from the Individual Training Course (ITC) in October 2019. ITC is a seven-month training course that takes place after a Marine successfully completes the Assessment & Selection process of the Marine Raider pipeline. Advanced training comes next.
In a statement, his Marine Raider cadre offered a glimpse into the man:
“Wolf was exactly what we look for when training students to become Marine Raiders. He was a consistent top performer, a natural leader, he never complained, and was always there to pick up his team during challenging events. He was an avid and talented hockey player, and could often be found on the ice, even after a grueling and exhausting week of training. We were proud and honored to have him join this formation and become a part of the Marine Raider legacy. We extend our sincere condolences to his family at this time.”
Sgt Weninger enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2015 and was an honor graduate in his basic training company. Before going in to Special Operations, Sgt Weninger had served as an armory custodian with the 2nd Combat Logistics Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
Colonel Travis Homiak, the commanding officer of the Marine Raider Training Center, said in a press release that “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Sgt. Wolf Weninger – an incredibly smart, dedicated, and dependable Marine. Although he was just beginning his journey as a Marine Raider, his contributions to our legacy did not go unnoticed.”
All Special Operations careerfields go through the Army’s Basic Airborne Course as a prerequisite for their job. Several operators, then, go on to receive Military Freefall training, which is a far more realistic platform of insertion for Special Operations units.
“He lived the ethos that defines our Marine Raider culture, possessing unsurmountable determination, a deep sense of integrity, and an unconquerable spirit,” added Col Homiak. “That coupled with his witty sense of humor, he could always be sure to get a few laughs, even in the most challenging of times. We will continue to provide as much support as we can to Sgt. Weninger’s family as they mourn the tragic and unexpected loss of their son, brother, and friend.”