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Two Alaska soldiers killed in Mississippi crash

Two members of the Alaska National Guard were killed and two fellow soldiers were injured when their Humvee was struck from the rear by a large truck near Camp Shelby, authorities said Friday.

The names of the soldiers killed in the Thursday night accident on U.S. 98 were being withheld pending notification of relatives.

McHugh Pierre, director of communications for the Alaskan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said it may take some time to notify relatives because of Alaska’s size.

“It can take three to six hours to reach Barrow from Anchorage by plane,” Pierre said.

The two men, who were training at Camp Shelby, were killed when the Humvee in which they were traveling was struck from the rear by a tractor-trailer rig driven by 47-year-old Rodney Brown of Citronelle, Ala., Highway Patrol Sgt. James Snyder said.

Brown suffered moderate injuries, Snyder said. He said Kimberly Hoffman, 37, and 7-year-old Brandon Hoffman, passengers in the 18-wheeler, had minor injuries.

Two other soldiers were injured in the accident, Camp Shelby spokesman Lt. Col. Doril Sanders said. Sanders said Humvee driver William Schultz, 31, of Fairbanks, Alaska, and passenger Pritpal Aijla, 26, whose hometown was not available, were listed in stable condition Friday at Forrest General Hospital.

The soldiers were on their way to a training exercise when the crash occurred, Sanders said.

Investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, Snyder said.

About 600 members of the 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry are in training at Camp Shelby, a 136,000-acre training facility south of Hattiesburg. After training, the soldiers are to be deployed to Iraq.