Another soldier assigned to U.S. Army Alaska was found dead in his Fairbanks home Dec. 8, according to an Army release.
Spc. Hunter Trey Stafford, an aircraft powerplant repairer assigned to 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, joined the Army in January 2019, the release said. The 21-year-old soldier was found deceased in his off-post home.
Fairbanks is home to Fort Wainwright, where Stafford’s unit is stationed.
“The soldiers and families of 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Spc. Hunter T. Stafford,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Carlsen, his battalion commander. “Hunter was a valuable member of the Arctic Attack Team and worked extremely hard as one of the battalion’s aircraft engine repairers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hunter’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Stafford’s off-duty death is at least the fifth since mid-October among Army troops stationed in Alaska.
While his death and the others remain under investigation from Army CID and local law enforcement, Defense Department officials took action this year following a string of suicides among troops there.
According to USA Today, as many as 15 service members may have died by suicide in Alaska this year. Army Alaska spokesperson John Pennell told Alaska Public Media that 10 Army deaths this year are confirmed suicides, and six remain under investigation.
In a July visit, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he was “deeply concerned about the suicide rates.”
If you or a loved one is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you can confidentially seek assistance via the Military/Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, via text at 838255 or chat at http://VeteransCrisisLine.net.
Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the Army. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Before journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.
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