Tragedy continues to hit Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, where a second soldier died at their residence late last week.
Sgt. Cody Lee Randall, a satellite communications systems operator with Charlie Company, 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, died at his home in Wasilla on April 3, Army Alaska officials said in a statement. The death was not related to COVID-19, they added.
Another soldier, Spc. Milik Jaquez Craig, was found dead in his barracks room the day before. A third soldier, Spc. Jason Alexander Thomas, was found unresponsive in his barracks before being pronounced dead on March 10. Neither of the deaths were COVID-19-related.
All three deaths are under investigation by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. Officials said that no further information will be released about the deaths to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigations.
“We can’t characterize the deaths until CID has completed their investigations and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has issued a cause of death finding," Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell said in a statement to Army Times. "Having said that, obviously having three soldier deaths in such a short time frame is cause for concern.”
Randall, 28, joined the Army out of Houston, Texas, in March 2013. He trained and served at Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Gordon, Georgia; and Fort Bliss, Texas, before reporting to Alaska in January 2018.
“We are devastated by the loss,” said battalion commander Lt. Col. William Cherkauskas. “Cody was an intelligent, charismatic and reliable leader to all who knew him and was a master of his craft. We express our deepest condolences to his family.”
Randall’s awards included the Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Army Alaska has been working to increase the quality of life at locations throughout the state, to include authorizing a new special incentive pay for soldiers reporting to Fort Wainwright, Fort Greely and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.