An Army sergeant died this summer during his temporary duty in Lithuania when his car fell into the Dane River after stopping at a raised drawbridge, according to a preliminary loss report compiled by the Army.
Staff Sgt. Robert Magallan, 29, was operating a rented vehicle July 27 at 6 p.m. in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda when he was stopped at a drawbridge while it was in the raised position, according to the report.
“The vehicle moved forward into the open gap, falling into the Dane River. Local divers recovered the Soldier’s body shortly after the event; however, the cause of death is still undetermined,” the report reads. “This mishap is under investigation by the Lithuanian authorities.”
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division deferred questions about the incident to the Lithuanians.
“Currently, Army CID is not investigating the death of SSG Magallan,” CID spokesman Jeffrey Castro told Army Times. “We are aware and tracking it, but the Lithuanian MPs are leading the investigation, they would be the best source for current information.”
Magallan was a section sergeant with the 11th Signal Brigade, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
“Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 35 (s)oldiers a year to off-duty PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the 26th PMV-4 fatality of FY22,” the report stated.
Magallan was in Lithuania for Operation Atlantic Resolve, the loss report added. American forces deploy to Lithuania, a member state of NATO, for missions like this on a rotational basis.
A tweet from Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defense on Friday highlighted how much it values its NATO partnerships.
The social media post shared that the USS Kearsarge, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, will soon arrive dock in Lithuania at the same port city where Magallan died. The Kearsarge has been deployed to various ports in the Baltics since early August, according to a Navy release.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media