An Army basic trainee at Fort Moore, Georgia, died Friday after receiving emergency medical care, the service said.
Pfc. Cesar Gonzalez, 21, died during infantry training after succumbing to a “medical emergency,” according to a statement from the Army. It was unclear what led to the soldier’s death, and the incident is still under investigation.
Gonzalez, a Chicago native, started training on June 16 and was close to graduating the 22-week Infantry One Station Unit Training, or OSUT. He was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade.
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“The Wolfpack family is devastated by the unfortunate and untimely passing of Private 1st Class Gonzalez, an outstanding soldier in our organization,” Capt. Stephanie Snyder, Gonzalez’s company commander, said in a statement. “This heartbreaking loss has affected every person in the company. We send our condolences to his family and friends, and our prayers are with them during this incredibly difficult time.”
Company cadre provided emergency medical care to Gonzalez until emergency crews arrived. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Martin Army Community Hospital.
Gonzalez got his start in the Army attending the academic track of the Future Soldier Preparatory Course in May. The course has been universally praised by Army leadership as getting in recruits who didn’t initially qualify for service and bringing them up to snuff on the service’s standards.
For an internal survey recruits take on why they joined the Army, Gonzelez wrote that he joined to challenge himself and support his family.
Basic training deaths are relatively rare, but Gonzalez is the second soldier to die suddenly in the Army’s infantry school at Fort Moore, the base previously known as Fort Benning, in recent months due to unknown circumstances.
In July, Pvt. Jacob Atchison, 19, of Pella, Iowa, also died due to a sudden medical emergency shortly before graduation. He was assigned to the 197th Infantry Brigade. He died a day before completing basic training. He was honored as being the best shooter of his class, earning an expert marksmanship badge.
In August 2022, 17-year-old Pvt. Alyssa Cahoon, a Pennsylvania Guardsman, died during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, after collapsing during physical training, according to records reviewed by Military.com obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Marine Corps had at least four recruits die during boot camp over two years, one being Pfc. Dalton Beals, 19, who died as a result of extreme overheating.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Private First Class Gonzalez’ family, friends and fellow teammates during this difficult time,” Lt. Col. Michael Moore, commander of 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment, said in a statement. “He was an exceptional soldier and dedicated friend to those around him.”
— Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.
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