The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Hazards of Army Life

Posted on | August 11, 2022 | Comments Off on The Hazards of Army Life

My Army son, now a sergeant first class, recently transferred to Alaska, where he’s part of the new 11th Airborne Division. Besides leading a platoon in the “Arctic Angels,” my son’s also enjoying the Alaska wildlife, catching gigantic salmon at Willow Creek. While his new assignment has been pleasant so far, he called last night to talk to my wife about what happened this week at his previous assignment, Camp Merrill near Dahlonega, Georgia. That’s where he served as a training sergeant for Mountain Phase of Army Ranger School. Two trainees, 2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon and Staff Sgt. George Taber, were killed when a tree fell on a group of five soldiers in a “weather-related incident” Tuesday.

2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon; Staff Sgt. George Taber

This was such a freak accident — a tree blown down during a sudden storm up on Yonah Mountain — that it’s probably unprecedented, and yet there are two soldiers dead, and another seriously injured, as a result. Training-related deaths are not an insignificant risk in a hazardous occupation. Last year, the Army lost 20 troops in training accidents, down from 24 in 2020. The two soldiers killed in Tuesday’s incident were obviously excellent troops, or they wouldn’t have been in Ranger School. Both of them were from Florida. Taber was a five-year veteran from Glen St. Mary who served as a Special Forces medic, while Fitzgibbon was a West Point alumnus from Winter Garden. And while of course their deaths are mourned most deeply by their family and friends, the entire nation has suffered a loss. In case you weren’t aware, the military has been suffering a recruiting crisis the past year, and the Army could ill afford to lose two top-quality men like this. For our family, of course, such a loss hit rather too close to home, and makes us conscious of what risks attend our son’s service. Pray for our troops.



Comments are closed.