The Army has decided to stop using a new parachute after a Soldier fell 800 feet to his death this month.

The T-11 parachute was touted as a revolutionary design that contributed to a 70 percent reduction in injuries by airborne troopers. The square-shaped T-11 has a bigger surface area and offers a gentler ride and touchdown to today’s heavier (more equipment-laden and better physical shape) Soldiers, Army officials have said. PEO Soldier says the canopy is 28 percent larger and descent is 49 percent slower than the round T-10.

Now Army investigators say Staff Sgt. Jamal Clay fell to his death last month because his T-11 parachute malfunctioned. Clay died during a training exercise at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

An internal Army memo says investigators found “potential packing, inspection, quality control and functionality problems” with the T-11 parachute system.

According to the memo, Secretary of the Army John McHugh ordered the suspension of the parachute’s use until a safety investigation is completed.

The Army put out a bunch of videos and invited the media out to Bragg to attest to how awesome the new parachute was. I wonder why the Army suspended use of the T-11 after one death given that thousands of jumps have occurred without incident. This doesn’t seem knee jerk to me, but leads me to think that there may be something wrong with the design, or the way Soldiers are packing/using it.

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