3 soldiers killed when tank rolls into water during Georgia training accident

Three other soldiers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries in the middle-of-the-night incident at the home of the 3rd Infantry Division.

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By Kalhan Rosenblatt, Alex Johnson and Doha Madani

Three soldiers were killed and three others were injured when their tank overturned into water during an overnight training exercise at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in south Georgia, the Army said Sunday.

The soldiers, members of the "Raiders" 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, were inside the tank, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, when the accident occurred at about 3:20 a.m., the Army said. Two of the three injured soldiers were treated and released from Winn Army Community Hospital, while the third was taken to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, about 30 miles away; none of their injuries was life-threatening.

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The soldiers who died have been identified by the Army as Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Jenkins of Florida; Pfc. Antonio Garcia of Arizona; and Cpl. Thomas Cole Walker of Ohio.

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Investigators from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which is headquartered at Fort Stewart, and from the Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, are investigating, the Army said.

Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, choked back tears Monday as he offered his condolences to the family of the men who died.

"It is hard enough when you lose one solider, but when you lose three at one time that pain is amplified," Aguto said. "We are really feeling and sharing that pain, across the division and across the entire community.”

Aguto said that a memorial service would be held in their honor, but did not name a date.

Mike Barksdale, a member of the Army's investigation team, said it would take between three to four weeks to finish a field report. Investigators would give the findings and recommendations to leadership at Fort Hood after the field report is complete, Barksdale said Monday.