(NationRise.com) – The US Army Garrison Fort Jackson announced in a recent news release that a second drill sergeant was found dead at the base in South Carolina — just days after military authorities found another sergeant dead.
The US Army explained in the news release that 30-year-old Staff Sergeant Zachary Melton was found “unresponsive” inside his vehicle on the base on December 16. Different reports noted that Melton was discovered by unit personnel, who were looking for him after he failed to report for work. He was a drill sergeant with the 1st Battalion of the 34th Infantry Regiment.
During a press conference, Fort Jackson’s commander, Brigadier General Jason Kelly, said that the US Army feels “extremely saddened” for the loss of Melton. He also told reporters that authorities will conduct an in-depth investigation into the matter and noted that “our thoughts” and prayers are with Melton’s family and all the soldiers who are part of the Always Forward battalion.
While Melton’s cause of death remains unclear as of this writing, the Army said in a statement that the US Army Criminal Investigation Division is currently investigating the incident. Military officials said they provided behavioral health personnel and military chaplains to support unit members who could feel distressed by the deaths of the two sergeants.
As reported by the Columbia Post and Courier, Melton’s death took place after Staff Sergeant Allen Burtram was also found dead on Fort Jackson on December 8. The media outlet noted that just like it happened with Melton, the 34-year-old man was found by unit personnel as he didn’t report to work.
In the press conference, Kelly said that the entire “Fort Jackson community” feels devastated by the tragic loss of the two sergeants. When asked about the investigations into their deaths, he told reporters that while there are different probes into the matter, the criminal investigation group is taking “deliberate steps” to guarantee that the responses are “adequate.”
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