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US Marine recruiter drowned during fitness training

Members of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office respond to a drowning incident on July 31, 2020. (Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Released)
August 11, 2020

A U.S. Marine Corps recruiter died after drowning in a river during a physical fitness training in the Ocmulgee River near Macon, Georgia.

Andre Armstrong, 26, drowned on July 31 after he and he and four others decided to swim in the river. At some point Armstrong “got into trouble” Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins told The Macon Telegraph in a statement following on July 31.

In a statement provided to Marine Corps Times, a U.S. Marine spokesman identified Armstrong as a sergeant and a recruiter in the Marines. The Marine statement indicated Armstrong was taking part in an official physical fitness function at the time the drowning incident occurred.

“They were swimming, and he evidently was fatigued,” Bibb County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Clay Williams said.

The four others with Armstrong tried to get him out of the water but were unsuccessful and he drowned.

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A dive team with the Macon-Bibb Fire Department was able to recover Armstrong’s body and he was pronounced dead on the scene.

“The Marines of Recruiting Station Columbia and Recruiting Substation Macon are deeply saddened by the loss of Sergeant Andre Armstrong,” Marine spokesman Capt. Bryan McDonnell told Marine Corps Times.

McDonnell said, “We would like to thank the local authorities who responded to the call and aided in recovery efforts.”

Armstrong joined the Marines in September of 2013 and originally trained as a finance technician before becoming a recruiter.

Armstrong deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2018.

Armstrong’s awards included the National Defense Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. He also received two Meritorious Masts and two Letters of Appreciation during his time in the service.

“Our thoughts remain with his loved ones during this time,” McDonnell said in his statement.