A soldier in the Oklahoma National Guard died earlier this month during a training mishap, Army officials confirmed.
Spc. Jaykob R. Pruitt, 19, of Bennington, Oklahoma, a cavalry scout with the state Guard’s 1st Squadron, 180th Cavalry Regiment, was found unresponsive the morning of March 4 after completing the two-mile run portion of the Army Combat Fitness Test, according to a preliminary loss report published by the service.
CPR was administered and emergency medical services were contacted before Pruitt was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the report added.
The incident occurred at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma, Maj. Kristin Tschetter, a spokesperson from the Oklahoma National Guard, told Military Times.
“Since 2018, the Army has lost an average of one [s]oldier a year to on-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishaps,” the report noted. “This was the third ... of [fiscal year 2023] and above the number of on-duty sports, recreation and physical training fatalities from this time last year.”
The Army lost three soldiers to sports, recreation and physical training-related mishaps in fiscal year 2022, according to the annual assessment of the Army safety program.
“One [s]oldier collapsed and died during a unit physical training [event] and two died due to drowning, one during pool certification and the other in a lake during an organizational day event. Additionally, a foreign national soldier training within the U.S. was involved in a drowning mishap,” the report said.
Pruitt’s passing comes on the heels of an incident in February, when a soldier at Camp Humphreys, Korea, Spc. Sun-Ho Lee, died in another on-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishap, according to another preliminary loss report.
Pruitt joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard in October 2020, according to a press release shared with Military Times. He earned several awards and decorations, including the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
He was laid to rest with full military honors on March 11.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Jaykob’s family, friends and our fellow [s]oldiers,” Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Mancino, adjutant general for Oklahoma, said in the release. “Together, we are mourning the devastating loss of a promising young man and [s]oldier.”
The cause of Pruitt’s death is under investigation by the McAlester medical examiner, though the status of that process is unclear at this time, Lt. Col. LeeAnn R. Tumblson, another spokesperson from the Oklahoma National Guard, told Military Times.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media