Army officials on Saturday identified the soldiers who were involved in Friday’s deadly incident at Fort Jackson in Columbia involving a military vehicle and a troop formation that killed two soldiers and injured six others.
Killed in the incident were Pvt. Ethan Shrader, from Prospect, Tenn., and Pvt. Timothy Ashcraft, from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Shrader, 19, was transported to an area hospital where he died at 4:39 p.m., according to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts. Shrader was a pedestrian soldier who was struck by a military vehicle, and an autopsy indicated multiple blunt force trauma to the torso was the cause of death.
The injured were: Pvt. Emmett Foreman, from Daleville, Ala.; Pvt. Hannah New, Cartersville, Ga.; Pvt. Benjamin Key, Livingston, Tenn.; Pvt. Alan Kryszak, Clarksville, Tenn.; Pvt. Cardre Jackson Jr., Laurel, Md.; and Pvt. James Foster, Macon, Ga..
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The Army, which called the incident “a tragic accident” that happened late Friday afternoon, has been limited on details.
So far, the military has not disclosed whether the driver of the vehicle will face charges, whether there was negligence on the part of anyone, whether the incident has been officially labeled an accident, the exact time of day the incident happened and whether the vehicle and soldiers were on or off roads. Neither the location nor type of vehicle were made public. It also is not clear whether the soldiers were struck from behind, or in front, or whether they were moving at the time.
The fact that the dead and injured soldiers were all privates indicates they might have been part of a basic, or beginning, training program. The Army did say the dead and injured were a “troop formation.” Such formations are usually under the direct supervision of one or more sergeants. The Army did not identify the unit or training program the soldiers were in.
On Fort Jackson’s sprawling 52,000-acre base, Army vehicles of various sizes and marching or jogging formations of soldiers frequently pass each other without incident on the base’s miles of paved and unpaved roadways. Traffic safety reminders are posted, and the fort’s military police patrols have been known to give tickets to bicyclists who don’t halt at stop signs.
Fort Jackson is the Army’s largest basic training base, and upwards of 35,000 soldiers receive basic training there each year. Thousands more soldiers attend the fort’s chaplain and drill sergeant schools.
“We are continuing to support everyone affected by this tragic event,” said U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson. “I am very appreciative for all the exceptional support from the Columbia medical community. I appreciate the outpouring of support. Please keep the family members, injured soldiers and our fellow teammates affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”
An investigation into the cause of the deaths and injuries continues, a base spokesman said.