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Army identifies soldier who died after training at Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson Gate 2 sign. (Google Maps/Released)
March 12, 2020

The soldier who died during basic training at Fort Jackson has been publicly identified by the U.S. Army.

Pvt. Angel Cortes is the National Guard soldier who died Tuesday following a medical emergency while attending basic combat training at the military installation in Columbia, Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. said.

The 29-year-old from Connecticut was “conducting a non-strenuous activity,” when the medical incident happened, Army spokesman Thomas Byrd said in a news release.

Cortes was taken to a Columbia-area hospital off the post where he died at about 9:30 p.m., Byrd said.

“The loss of any soldier, one of America’s most precious resources, devastates families, friends and teammates,” Beagle said in the release. “The entire Fort Jackson community feels the loss of this young man deeply and grieves with his family, friends and relatives.”

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This is the third death of a soldier at Fort Jackson in the past six months.

Pvt. Connor J. McGurran died Jan. 8, according to Fort Jackson. The 19-year-old Minnesota Army National Guard Soldier was found unresponsive following a training exercise, The State reported.

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.

“Even though this event follows too closely to our last basic training combat soldier death stemming from a medical emergency on Jan. 8, it is rare,” Beagle said.

Cortes’ death is under investigation, Army officials said.

His unit paused training following the death, but it remains on track to graduate, according to Beagle’s statement.

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.

”The loss of one of our own is never easy. We take seriously the safety of everyone at Fort Jackson,” Beagle said. “… Thank you for the outpouring of concern and well-wishes for the soldier’s family, friends, and the nearly 10,000 soldiers who continue to train here at Fort Jackson to serve our great nation.”

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© 2020 The State