Army Identifies Infantry Soldier Found Dead on Southern Border

In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, members of the U.S. military install multiple tiers of concertina wire along the banks of the Rio Grande near the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border, in Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, members of the U.S. military install multiple tiers of concertina wire along the banks of the Rio Grande near the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border, in Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The U.S. Army identified the 7th Infantry Division soldier recently found dead in Arizona while taking part in the Pentagon's effort to support the mission on the U.S. Southern border.

Pfc. Steven Hodges, 20, of Menifee, California, was found deceased June 1 near Nogales, according to Lt. Col. Roger M. Cabiness II, a spokesman for the 7th ID at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Hodges enlisted in the Army in 2017 and has served as a grenadier with 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, since February 2018, Cabiness said.

"Every Soldier in the Tomahawk Battalion is an essential member of our team; the loss of any soldier is deeply felt," Lt. Col. Sean Lyons, commander of 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, said in a written statement.

"Private 1st Class Steven Hodges is sorely missed by his teammates and the entire Tomahawk family. Every soldier is a national treasure," he added. "We are grateful for all the young men and women who volunteer to serve our nation. We are humbled at the sacrifices their families continue to make on a daily basis. Steven and his family are in our prayers."

The cause of death is under investigation, Cabiness said.

In addition to the Army's investigation, Hodges' death is being investigated by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department and the FBI because the federal land where he was found falls under their jurisdictions, according to Maj. Mark Lazane, a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command, which oversees the mission to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southern border.

Hodges' awards included the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

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

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