Army releases names of soldiers who died in training exercise

National

FORT STEWART, Ga. (WHTM) — Fort Stewart officials have released the names of three soldiers who died in an accident Sunday morning.

The Army identified the soldiers as Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Jenkins, 41, of Gainesville, Florida; Cpl. Thomas Walker, 22, of Conneaut, Ohio; and Pfc. Antonio Garcia, 21, of Peoria, Arizona.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto struggled to hold back tears at a news conference as he read the names of the soldiers who died.

“It is hard enough when you lose one soldier,” Aguto said, “but when you lose three at one time, that pain is amplified, and we are really feeling and sharing that pain.”

Six soldiers were riding in a Bradley fighting vehicle in a training area of the sprawling Army post southwest of Savannah when it “rolled off a bridge and was submerged upside down in a stream,” Aguto said.

Two of the three soldiers who were hurt were treated and released. The third was transferred to a hospital in Savannah.  

The training exercise being conducted early Sunday had been planned and rehearsed ahead of time, Aguto said. And while the remnants of Tropical Storm Nestor swept across southeast Georgia late Saturday and early Sunday, Aguto said there had been no severe weather warnings and the storm’s rain and winds had already passed before the crash occurred.

At least 12 Army soldiers have died in nine training accidents across the U.S. in 2019, including the crash Sunday at Fort Stewart, according to the Army Combat Readiness Center, which investigates fatal accidents.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset Tuesday in honor of the 21-year-old fallen soldier, Garcia, from Peoria.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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