‘The whole system’ failed: Officials in Colorado say no avalanches have occurred since Feb. 26
A Colorado National Guardsman has been relieved of duty after a series of avalanches that hit the nearby Colorado Rockies.
The National Guard said Friday it was taking disciplinary action against Colby Smith, who was assigned to the Colorado Springs Regional Guard.
He will be reassigned to the Fort Carson National Guard, the Guard said.
Smith, who joined the Colorado National Guard in October 2016, was assigned as a deputy with the Colorado Guard National Headquarters in Fort Collins.
He served as a helicopter pilot and was a member of the helicopter pilot’s support unit, the Colorado Air National Guard.
In September, Smith said he was deployed to a military base in New Mexico for training, but he returned to Colorado to complete his training.
In August, he was ordered to leave the Colorado mountains after a ski patrol crashed and killed his wife, who had not been injured in the accident.
Smith said he didn’t know what he had done wrong.
The Colorado Avalanche Safety Institute said Friday that Smith’s case would be investigated by the Colorado Avalanche and Ski Patrol.
The institute’s executive director, Rob Krasnoff, said that Smith would not be allowed to fly helicopters in Colorado again until he is cleared by the military.
The U.S. Department of the Interior said Thursday that Smith had been reassigned from Fort Carson to the Wyoming National Guard because of his “lack of professionalism.”
Smith’s wife, a Fort Carson resident, died from injuries suffered in the crash.