The Army is looking into the death of Staff Sgt. Robert Magallan, 29, who died last Thursday while on temporary duty in Lithuania, according to U.S. Army Europe and Africa.
Magallan, a section sergeant with the 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, died in a car accident, U.S. Army Europe and Africa spokesperson Maj. Scott Kuhn said in an email.
Magallan drove off the middle of a drawbridge into the Dane River in the port city of Klaipeda at 12:45 a.m., Lithuanian National Radio and Television first reported Thursday. He was wearing civilian clothes and driving a rented vehicle from the nearby Baltic country Latvia, according to the Lithuanian outlet.
A video posted on social media allegedly shows the vehicle falling off the bridge, Lithuanian National Radio and Television reported.
“An investigation has been initiated to determine the circumstances that led to the incident. We are in direct coordination with our host nation counterparts as we continue the investigation process,” said Kuhn. “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Magallan.”
American forces like Magallan deploy to Lithuania on a rotational basis, though in February, the Baltic country urged the United States to permanently base some forces there.
In light of Russia’s invasion of fellow eastern European country Ukraine, Lithuania, a NATO member, has sought greater military assistance.
In June, President Joe Biden pledged to boost American troops, warplanes and warships to various places in Europe, Military Times previously reported. As of July, approximately 3,700 allied NATO troops, including Americans, were in Lithuania, according to a NATO map.
Further details on the investigation and Magallan have yet to be released.
In December 2020, Magallan helped provide free Christmas trees to troops and their families at Fort Hood, according to a post press release.
“It shows that the community cares about them,” he said at the time, per the release. “Most of the time we are always training and things are demanding their time. When Fort Hood gives back to them, it shows that they care.”
Magallan’s commander, Col. Brian P. Jacobson, called the deceased soldier a valuable member of the team in a statement provided by Fort Hood officials.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of an incredible person, leader, and teammate,” Jacobson said in the statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of mourning and reflection.”
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media