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Fort Riley soldier dies following training exercise in California

By The Mercury

A 26-year-old Fort Riley soldier died last month of after he was injured during a training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif., a public affairs officer confirmed Friday.

Army Spc. Robert Sonnenburg III, of Turner, Ore., was injured Feb. 20 during an exercise with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin. He was evacuated to Las Vegas Medical Center, where he died two days later, officials said.

Jason Roberts, media relations manager for 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs, said the incident was still under investigation, and he couldn’t comment on the cause or circumstances of the injuries. He said the office didn’t release information on the incident because it was in “respond to query mode.”

Sonnenburg was among 3,400 soldiers from Fort Riley assigned to tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles who had been participating in a month-long training exercise at the National Training Center east of
Barstow. The rest of the soldiers are now on their way back, Roberts said.

Sonnenburg was a 19 Delta Cavalry Scout for the 1st Inf. Div. He had joined the Army in January 2010 and was deployed in November 2010 for a year in Iraq.

His death follows another accident at the training center less than a week before. On Feb. 14, six soldiers were injured in a vehicular accident that involved moving equipment for an incoming Army unit,
according to a press release.

Three of the soldiers with non-life-threatening injuries were flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and a Las Vegas hospital. Three other soldiers were treated for minor injuries at Weed Army Community Hospital at Fort Irwin and were released, according to the report.

No other information about the accident is available.

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