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Military officials said 25 heavily armed parachutists who landed in a cornfield on the grounds of a Colorado prison last week were on a training mission but landed about 3 miles off target.
"Those were Special Operations Command forces conducting routine training," Army Col. Hans Bush, a spokesman for the command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, said Monday. He declined to identify the units that landed at Fremont Correctional Facility but said the target was Fremont County Airport.
The special operations troops, which could include Navy Seals or Green Berets, began dropping from the sky at about 4:50 a.m. Thursday. Guards on duty, who are trained to watch the skies following a helicopter escape in 1989 from a prison near Ordway, Colorado, held their fire after noticing the parachutists were soldiers.
Guards who stopped the men and asked for identification were presented with documents that identified them only as Defense Department employees, Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti.