FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday marks the 23rd anniversary of Fort Bragg’s Green Ramp disaster.
Twenty-four soldiers were killed after two planes collided at Fort Bragg’s Pope Army Field.
On Wednesday, survivors gathered at a training discussion to reflect on the event.
“Just nice to see that after 23 years, they still remember the incident and are trying to learn from it,” said Richard Clapp, a survivor of the disaster.
March 23, 1994, is the day many 82nd Airborne soldiers and their families will never forget.
The incident happened just as some 500 paratroopers gathered at Pope Air Force Base for a training exercise.
At the same time, two aircraft collided mid-air near the Green Ramp.
“It was terrifying not knowing what was going on but knowing whatever it was, it was big, and having a vague idea that I was hurt and something terrible happened,” said Jay Nelson, who also survived the incident.
Once on the ground, one of the planes hit another aircraft.
Both planes exploded sending a fireball through the air which eventually struck paratroopers nearby.
In addition to those killed, 100 others injured.
“I remember the whole world turning orange and blacking out because it was so hot,” Clapp said.
More than 200 people attended Wednesday’s panel discussion
Retired Lt. Col. Jay Nelson and Richard Clapp were guest speakers.
Both men suffered burns to 45 percent of their body during the tragedy.
They also spent several months in the hospital.
“Live every day to the fullest, what was suppose to be a beautiful jump, you just never know, so live every day to the fullest,” Clapp said.
The group reflected on lessons learned and the support of Womack Hospital staff at the time.
Officials also spoke about the abundance of resources the hospital has now.
“If you take a look at how we structure our emergency response, it’s quite advanced,” said Marsha Lunt, Womak Hospital’s emergency manager.