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Questions Linger After Soldiers Killed, Injured at Fort Jackson

Troops prepare for a teamwork drill at Fort Jackson, S.C. Two soldiers at the fort were killed in a military vehicle accident on Oct. 6. (Scott Olsen/Getty Images)
Troops prepare for a teamwork drill at Fort Jackson, S.C. Two soldiers at the fort were killed in a military vehicle accident on Oct. 6. (Scott Olsen/Getty Images)

Army officials on Saturday identified the soldiers killed or injured Friday in a deadly incident at Fort Jackson, S.C., that involved a military vehicle and a troop formation.

The two soldiers who died were Pvt. Ethan Shrader of Prospect, Tenn., and Pvt. Timothy Ashcraft of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Shrader, 19, was transported to an area hospital where he died at 4:39 p.m., according to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts. Shrader was struck by a military vehicle and an autopsy indicated that multiple blunt-force trauma to the torso was the cause of death.

The injured were Pvt. Emmett Foreman of Daleville, Ala.; Pvt. Hannah New of Cartersville, Ga.; Pvt. Benjamin Key of Livingston, Tenn.; Pvt. Alan Kryszak of Clarksville, Tenn; Pvt. Cardre Jackson, Jr. of Laurel, Md.; and Pvt. James Foster of Macon, Ga.

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The Army, which called the incident that happened late Friday afternoon a "tragic accident," has been sketchy on details.

So far, the military has not disclosed whether the driver of the vehicle will face charges, whether there was negligence on the part of anyone, whether the incident has been officially labeled an accident, the exact time of day the incident happened and whether the vehicle and soldiers were on or off a road. The location of the incident has not been made public, nor the type of vehicle involved. It is not clear whether the soldiers were struck from behind, in front, or they were moving at the time.

The fact that the dead and injured soldiers were all privates indicates they may have been part of a basic training program. The Army did say the dead and injured were a "troop formation." Such formations are usually under the direct supervision of one or more sergeants. The Army did not identify the victims' unit or training program.

On Fort Jackson's sprawling 52,000-acre base, Army vehicles of various sizes and marching or jogging formations of soldiers frequently pass each other without incident on the base's miles of paved and unpaved roadways. Traffic safety reminders are posted, and the fort's military police patrols have been known to give tickets to bicyclists who don't halt at stop signs.

Fort Jackson is the Army's largest basic training center, and upwards of 35,000 soldiers receive such training there each year. 

"We are continuing to support everyone affected by this tragic event," said Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, commander of the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson. "I am very appreciative for all the exceptional support from the Columbia medical community. I appreciate the outpouring of support. Please keep the family members, injured soldiers and our fellow teammates affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers."

An investigation into the cause of the deaths and injuries continues, a base spokesman said.

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