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Army paratrooper dies parachuting from Black Hawk helicopter for training

A U.S. Army jumpmaster gives the command to jump to 1st Lt. Terrance Adams of the 982nd Combat Camera Company during an airborne operation at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 5, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Rachel Diehm/Released)
April 21, 2021

A paratrooper suffered fatal injuries during a static-line parachute jump from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as part of a training exercise Monday, according to a statement from 82nd Airborne Division officials Wednesday.

Twenty-one year old Spc. Abigail Jenks was training with the division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team when she died at Sicily Drop Zone on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the Army Times reported.

“Spc. Abigail Jenks was a creative, hardworking, and confident Paratrooper. Her love for art, animals, and her friends reverberated wherever she worked,” said Capt. Brian Norman, Jenks’ battery commander, in a statement. “Her compassion for fellow Paratroopers will be truly missed.”

Jenks was from Gansevoort, New York, and acted as a fire support specialist serving as a forward observer in the 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

After enlisting in October 2018 and completing training at Fort Sill, Okahoma, and Fort Benning, Georgia, Jenks wa assigned to Fort Bragg in June 2019.

“Spc. Jenks was a dedicated Paratrooper, gifted forward observer, loyal friend, and talented artist who consistently made a tremendous impact on all around her,” Lt. Col. Christopher Walsh, the late paratrooper’s regiment commander, said in a statement.

“She will be dearly missed. We are ensuring every resource is available to her family and peers to help them during this difficult time,” Walsh’s statement added.

The Army Combat Readiness Center is leading an investigation into the young specialist’s death, and division spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Burns refrained from commenting on the incident with Army Times as a result.  

This is the second death in nearly 6 months for the 82nd Airborne Division. In mid-September, Pfc. Jean Cruz De Leon, 20, died during a training exercise after his parachute malfunctioned at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

The specific details surrounding the paratrooper’s death have not yet been disclosed, but the incident is under investigation, the U.S. Army said in a statement to American Military News.

The incident also comes nearly a year after 3 U.S. Army soldiers were killed in an armor vehicle training accident also at Fort Stewart.

In October 2019, Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Jenkins, 41, of Gainesville, Fla., Cpl. Thomas Walker, 22, of Ohio, and Pfc. Antonio Garcia, 21, of Ariz., all lost their lives when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle they were riding in at Fort Stewart rolled off a bridge during training and landed upside down in a stream. Three other soldiers were injured in the incident.