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Fort Irwin soldier dies in training incident

Spc. Joseph M. Meitl Jr. (U.S. Army/Released)
March 17, 2022

A soldier died during a training incident on March 10 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., the U.S. Army revealed in a press release on Saturday.

Spc. Joseph M. Meitl Jr., 23, joined the Army in May 2020 and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st CAV Div. He was taking part in the brigade’s training at Fort Irwin at the time of his death.

“Specialist Joseph Meitl Jr. was a valuable member of our Steel Dragon team.  We are deeply saddened by the loss of an incredible Trooper and teammate,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Carpenter, commander, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to his spouse, family, and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of mourning and reflection.”

Meitl, who served as an armored cannon crewmember, had earned multiple awards prior to his death, including an Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

“The unit leadership will continue to provide support and assistance to his Family during this difficult time,” the Army’s press release stated.

No other details were provided. The training incident is under investigation.

Meitl’s death comes just one week after another U.S. Army soldier died following a training exercise at Fort Sill, Okla.

Pvt. Estanley Cabrera, 24, started showing signs of distress after training on March 3. Unit leadership and medical personnel immediately began resuscitation efforts and contacted 911. The young soldier was transported to Comanche County Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to ABC7 News.

“The tragic loss of a teammate deeply saddens the entire Fort Sill team,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper, Commanding General of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to Pvt. Cabrera’s family, friends, and fellow Soldiers.”

In December, a U.S. Navy SEAL died from injuries he sustained during a training accident at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach. In an emailed statement to American Military News, the Naval Special Warfare command identified the SEAL as Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, the commander of SEAL Team 8.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bourgeois family — and we will ensure our community remains in support of and in relationship with Brian’s family and his children, for life,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, said in the statement. “Brian was one of our very best leaders, who possessed all the attributes that make our force effective. We will miss his charismatic leadership and faithful stewardship of our standard. His legacy carries on in teammates he served with, led, and mentored.”