The 3rd Infantry Division suffered a terrible loss Sunday morning. At approximately 3:20 a.m. six U.S. Army soldiers were riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle during a night training exercise. The vehicle overturned and became submerged in water.  

Three Army soldiers were pronounced dead at the scene. Three other soldiers were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. There are no specific details available from the Army at this point. 

The accident happened at Ft. Stewart, which is located in Georgia. The names of the soldiers will be released after their next of kin are notified.

This is not the first incident of this kind. In 2002, at Fort Hood, Texas, a similar vehicle overturned in a creek bed at Cowhouse Creek and killed and wounded several soldiers. With such a terrible recent history, it's difficult to believe the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) is one of the safest and fiercest combat vehicles in the American arsenal. 

So let's take a look at the BFV and understand how this can happen. The BFV is a large vehicle that is designed to carry scout troops into battle. It is driven on two large tracks. As such, it is often confused for being a "tank." 

While the Bradley is designed to take on all types of terrain, it is not impervious to issues. Weighing in at 27.6 tons, it is a massive beast. The early models were designed to float. However, when a different armor structure was introduced, these abilities were negated. 

Depending upon the terrain, the BFV is pretty stable. It was designed to keep pace with the Abrams tank. That meant that despite his weight, it was pretty nimble. Still, there are issues when traversing some terrain types. 

Bradley Fighting Vehicle A Bradley Fighting Vehicle of the U.S. Army. Photo: Spc. Darrick Fritz [Public domain]

Driving and navigating a vehicle with tracks is not the same as driving a vehicle that has wheels. While it is undoubtedly better for some situations, it is not ideal for all. If one of the tracks gets stuck, the vehicle can act and lift erratically. If the BFV is on an incline this can cause it to topple. 

Regardless of safety measures, this can be a complicated thing for passengers that are trapped inside the vehicle. Over 6,000 Bradley Fighting Vehicles were produced, which include several variations. Despite the issues mentioned above, this vehicle has a fantastic safety history.

Training accidents are a way of life in the military. This is an unfortunate reality that our troops must prepare for.