1st Cav Soldiers Die in On-Duty Vehicle Incidents 3 Days Apart

Army Spc. Andrew S. Ortega (pictured here when he was a Private First Class), a horizontal construction engineer with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, was killed at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany on January 13, 2019. (U.S. Army)
Army Spc. Andrew S. Ortega (pictured here when he was a Private First Class), a horizontal construction engineer with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, was killed at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany on January 13, 2019. (U.S. Army)

A 1st Cavalry Division soldier was killed Monday and three were injured in an armored vehicle accident at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

This is the second 1st Cavalry soldier to be killed in a vehicle-related accident this week.

The first death occurred Sunday and involved a soldier at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. Spc. Andrew S. Ortega, a horizontal construction engineer with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, was killed while conducting "routine redeployment vehicle cleaning," U.S. Army Europe spokeswoman Beth Clemmons told Military.com.

No other details about the circumstances of Ortega's death were available. His death remains under investigation.

Monday's death involving a 1st Cav soldier, who has not been identified yet, involved a Bradley fighting vehicle during a training exercise at the National Training Center, Kenneth Drylie, a spokesman for NTC, told Military.com.

"It was a vehicle rollover accident," Drylie said.

The accident occurred about 5 p.m. and injured three other soldiers. One was flown by medevac helicopter to Loma Linda University Medical Center; the other two were taken to Weed Army Community Hospital, he said.

The current conditions of the three wounded soldiers are unknown. The incident remains under investigation.

Col. Wilson R. Rutherford IV, commander of the 1st ABCT, offered his condolences to Ortega's family in a statement.

"Andrew's service and dedication to the brigade's mission are displays of his true character and professionalism," Rutherford said in a Jan. 15 U.S. Army-Europe press release.

"Andrew is a true American hero, who served his country honorably and made many sacrifices in support of our mission. The Ironhorse soldiers are deeply saddened by our loss."

Ortega, 32, joined the Army in September 2016 and arrived at Fort Hood, Texas, in March 2017. He was on his first rotation to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, according to the release.

Ortega's home of record was Hernandez, New Mexico. His awards and decorations include the Army Service Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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