(FORT JACKSON) — A 19-year-old Army National Guard soldier was found dead at Fort Jackson less than four months after an Army recruit died on the same post.
The soldier, Pvt. Connor J. McGurran, a native of Owatonna, Minnesota, was found unresponsive by fellow soldiers during a training exercise Wednesday morning, base officials said in a statement. He was transported to Providence Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, where he was pronounced dead.
U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson commanding general, Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr., paused training for the 3rd Battalion 39th Infantry Regiment, to which McGurran belonged, and shared his condolences on social media.
“The unexpected loss of a Soldier in training is not unprecedented, but remains rare,” Beagle wrote in a statement posted to Fort Jackson’s Twitter page. “Unfortunately, this event follows too closely to our last Basic Combat Training Soldier death stemming from a medical emergency on September 20, 2019.”
Beagle also tweeted from his personal account: “We mourn the loss of a 19-year old Minnesota National Guard Soldier in training. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Family members and team mates of the deceased Soldier. We are providing every comfort and assistance that we can to all involved.”
The statement added that “investigations are underway” to determine McGurran’s cause of death.
His death also follows those of three Army soldiers who drowned in October when their tank rolled into water during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia — and builds on a disturbing trend in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Almost twice as many service members are dying during training exercises compared with combat operations, according to a congressional report from May. From 2006 to 2018, including those years, 31.9% of active-duty military deaths were the result of accidents. By comparison, 16.3% of service members who died during that time were killed in action.
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