A 19-year-old soldier from Oklahoma National Guard, Spc. Jaykob R. Pruitt, died on March 4th during a training exercise, according to a preliminary loss report by the Army. Pruitt, a cavalry scout with the state Guard’s 1st Squadron, 180th Cavalry Regiment, was found unresponsive after completing the two-mile run portion of the Army Combat Fitness Test. CPR was performed and emergency medical services were contacted before he was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The incident occurred at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma. Maj. Kristin Tschetter, a spokesperson from the Oklahoma National Guard, confirmed the news to Military Times. The cause of Pruitt’s death is currently under investigation by the McAlester medical examiner.
The Army has reported that since 2018, it has lost an average of one soldier per year to on-duty sports, recreation, and physical training mishaps. Pruitt’s death is the third such incident in Fiscal Year 2023, which is higher than the number of fatalities recorded at the same time in the previous year.
In Fiscal Year 2022, the Army lost three soldiers due to sports, recreation, and physical training-related mishaps. One soldier collapsed and died during a unit physical training event, and two soldiers drowned, one during pool certification and the other during an organizational day event. Additionally, a foreign national soldier training within the U.S. was involved in a drowning mishap.
Pruitt’s death follows the death of another soldier, Spc. Sun-Ho Lee, in February during another on-duty sports, recreation, and physical training mishap at Camp Humphreys, Korea.
Pruitt had joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard in October 2020 and had earned several awards and decorations, including the Army Achievement Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
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