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Teen soldier who died during training to be memorialized at Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson Gate 2 sign. (Google Maps/Released)
January 16, 2020

The teenage soldier who died while training at Fort Jackson last week will be memorialized, the U.S. Army said.

A memorial service will be held Thursday to honor Pvt. Connor J. McGurran, who died Jan. 8, Fort Jackson spokeswoman Leslie Ann Sully said in a new release.

The 19-year-old Minnesota Army National Guard Soldier was found unresponsive following a training exercise, according to the release.

The ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. in Daniel Circle Chapel at Fort Jackson, Sully said. According to the release, the Army has a tradition of holding memorials for fallen comrades, to honor their service.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support, from both on and off post, as we mourn the untimely and sudden death of Pvt. McGurran,” Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr. said in the release. “We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends, who are here, during this difficult time.”

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On the morning McGurran was found, he did not respond to life-saving measures attempted by soldiers in his unit and Fort Jackson paramedics, Sully said. The member of 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment was then transported to Providence Hospital, where he died, according to the Army.

Information on the teenager’s cause of death was not available, but it is being investigated, according to the release.

“The installation has felt his absence and we ask for continued patience as we navigate through the investigation process,” Beagle said in the release. “Several entities are researching the facts and looking at the incident holistically.”

Beagle said McGurran’s family will be the first to know what is determined by the investigation, and it will be up to them to choose if that information is made public.

In the wake of McGurran’s death, his battalion “paused training while unit ministry teams and other professionals provided support to his fellow trainees and Army team members,” according to the release.

This is the second death of a soldier at Fort Jackson in the past five months.

Pvt. Andrew McLean, an 18-year-old from Fayetteville, North Carolina suffered a medical emergency before an outdoor physical training drill in September 2019, The State reported.

Fort Jackson is the nation’s largest military basic training base with more than 50,000 recruits assigned there each year.

Other fatal incidents have been reported at Fort Jackson.

In May 2019, wildlife biologist Angela Nicole Chadwick Hawkins died during a controlled fire in a post training area at Fort Jackson, according to The State.

In October 2017, two soldiers were killed and six more were injured when they were struck by military vehicle during training, The State reported.

An 18-year-old recruit died after a training march in August 2009. In July 2016, a sergeant first class died after collapsing at the end of a physical fitness test.

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© 2020 The State