A second drill sergeant has been found dead at Fort Jackson in South Carolina in just over a week, the U.S. Army said Monday.
Staff Sgt. Zachary L. Melton, 30, was found unresponsive Saturday inside his vehicle on the base, the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Jackson said in a news release.
Melton, a drill sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, was located by unit personnel after he failed to report for work.
"We are extremely saddened by the loss of Staff Sgt. Melton," said Fort Jackson's commander, Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly. "Our thoughts are with his family and the soldiers of the Always Forward battalion during this very emotional time."
No cause of death was immediately provided, though the Army said the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division is investigating.
Officials said military chaplains and behavioral health personnel are being provided to support members of the unit.
Melton. of Huntsville, Alabama, received numerous awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal with C device, and was a three-time recipient of the Army Commendation Medal.
Less than two weeks before Melton’s death, 34-year-old Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram was found dead on the base after he had failed to report to work, the Columbia Post and Courier reported.
"As a Fort Jackson community, we are mourning the tragic loss of two of our drill sergeants within the past few weeks," Kelly said. "While there are several ongoing investigations into the specifics of each of these deaths, we are taking very deliberate steps to ensure our resiliency resource offerings are adequate and responsive."
Officials had said Burtram’s death was also being investigated, though there were no signs of foul play.
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