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Conneaut soldier among 3 killed in Fort Stewart training accident

Posted at 7:10 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 11:12:44-04

CONNEAUT, Ohio — The U.S. Army has identified the three soldiers who died during an early morning training exercise Sunday at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

Sfc. Bryan Andrew Jenkins, of Florida, Cpl. Thomas Cole Walker, of Conneaut, Ohio and Pfc. Antonio Gilbert Garcia of Arizona died when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle flipped over into the water around 3:20 a.m. Sunday. Three other 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team soldiers were injured during the accident. Two of those soldiers have been released and another remains hospitalized with non-life threating injuries.

The three deceased soldiers were pronounced dead at the scene.

“It is hard enough when you lose one soldier, but when you lose three at one time, that pain is amplified,” Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, said during a press conference Monday evening. “And we are really feeling and sharing that pain across the division and the community.”

“It’s been tough for all of us,” he said

Aguto wouldn’t go into specific details of how the incident happened Monday but said the soldiers’ Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled off a bridge and was submerged upside down in a stream. Officials would not say how the vehicle fell off the bridge.

“Our family is heartbroken at the news of this tragic accident at Ft. Stewart,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement Sunday. “Our prayers are with the families of those who passed and those undergoing treatment for their injuries.”

The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the 3rd Infantry Division and a team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center and officials said they would release more information as it becomes available.

Aguto said training will continue on the base but that they constantly look for ways to mitigate risks. However, he also said that training on not perfect conditions is part of the job.

“Training is tough, realistic and we train for all sorts of conditions,” he said Monday. You would expect us to do that.”

Aguto said everyone is struggling to deal with this tragic accident.

“We share your pain and we honor and are humbled by their service and sacrifice, and we will truly miss them,” Aguto said at a press conference Monday.