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Airman killed, 3 injured in vehicle crash on Mississippi Air Force Base

Keesler Air Force Base sign. (Keesler Air Force Base/Released)
July 29, 2021 and

A U.S. Air Force airman was killed and three more people were injured on Wednesday afternoon after a vehicle crash on Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The Air Force Base announced the deceased airman, who was assigned to the 81st Training Wing, was killed after the vehicle accident involving pedestrians at around 1:25 p.m. The base did not specify whether the deceased airman was the driver of the vehicle or one of the pedestrians.

The base said the cause of the incident is still under investigation and no additional details are available at this time.

The deceased airman has not been named at this time and will not be released until after next of kin notifications have been completed.

The base did not provide any additional details for the three people injured in the incident.

One gate on the base was shut down but base operations continued as normal following the accident. Traffic fully reopened a few hours later.

Keesler is a joint training base and trains more than 28,000 students each year from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and federal personnel, according to the Air Force. It is also the largest employer on Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Air Force approved a $3.22 million project in February to construct a new visitor center at Keesler, a move that added to a $37 million project to move Keesler’s main entrance, along with various other improvements, including a roundabout, lighting, signage, parking, and more.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said at the time that “a new visitor center, in conjunction with a reconfigured Division Street gate, are much-needed improvements to benefit and serve Keesler Air Force Base and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,”

Sen. Roger Wicker called Keesler, “a premier military installation and one of the largest employers in the area.”

Last month, Keesler held a change of command ceremony as outgoing Col. Heather Blackwell turned over command of the 81st Training Wing to Col. William Hunter, the installation’s 48th commander since it was activated in 1941.

Blackwell held the command for two years, overseeing the training of 12,000 airmen and civilians.