3rd Fort Wainwright soldier dies this year
An Army soldier assigned to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks died after being found injured in his home last week, the fort’s third soldier to die during Alaska incidents in 2019.
Sgt. Brian Peter Sawyer, 33, who served with Fort Wainwright’s 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, died Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s hospital in Washington. According to an Army statement, his death was the result of “injuries he sustained at his on-post residence here Feb. 3."
Sawyer, who worked as a helicopter repairman, was initially treated in Fairbanks. He was transferred to Washington due to “the severity of his injuries.”
"The Flying Dragon family grieves together today at the loss of one of our own,” Lt. Col. Jorge Rosario, the 1-52nd’s commander, said in the statement. “Sgt. Brian Sawyer will be greatly missed and our prayers are with his family and friends."
U.S. Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell declined to provide additional details on the nature of Sawyer’s death, noting that the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is still examining its circumstances.
“We just don't know,” Pennell said when asked if Sawyer’s death appeared suspicious. “We're waiting on the investigation.”
Asked if Fort Wainwright’s leadership considers the deaths part of a trend or plans to address them as such, Pennell emphasized the need for further details.
“One death is one too many, no matter what the circumstances,” Pennell said. “Any death like this, we have CID doing their investigation to see if there's anything we would need to address.”
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