Fort Jackson, South Carolina – Another tragic incident has occurred at Fort Jackson, where a second drill sergeant has been found dead in just over a week. The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Jackson announced on Monday that Staff Sgt. Zachary L. Melton, 30, was discovered unresponsive inside his vehicle on the base. Melton, who was a drill sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, was found after failing to report for duty. The cause of his untimely death has not been disclosed, and an investigation is currently underway by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.
Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly, commander of Fort Jackson, expressed deep sadness over the loss of Staff Sgt. Melton and extended his thoughts to both Melton’s family and fellow soldiers. This tragedy has undoubtedly left a community in mourning, and in its wake, military chaplains and behavioral health personnel have been made available to provide support to the affected unit.
This unfortunate incident comes less than two weeks after the death of Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram, 34, who was also found deceased on the base after failing to show up for work, as reported by the Columbia Post and Courier. Similar to Melton’s case, Burtram’s cause of death is being investigated, but there is currently no indication of foul play involved.
The loss of two drill sergeants at Fort Jackson within such a short period of time raises concerns and highlights the need for a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding these deaths. The Army is committed to ensuring the well-being of its personnel and will be closely collaborating with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division to uncover the truth.
Fort Jackson, one of the largest and busiest Army Basic Training Centers in the United States, plays a crucial role in training new soldiers. It is vital that a thorough examination of safety protocols and procedures takes place to ensure the protection and well-being of all military personnel stationed at the base.
The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Jackson will provide updates as more information regarding the deaths of Staff Sgt. Melton and Staff Sgt. Burtram becomes available.