3rd ID commander sheds tears as he identifies soldiers he lost in accident


The infantry division commander of the three Soldiers killed in a training accident in Georgia fought back tears as he discussed the matter- and now an entire division is left to mourn the loss.

3rd Infantry Division Commander Major General Antonio Aguto was struggling to continue the press conference he was forced to hold after a Bradley IFV rolled into water over the weekend, killing three men and injuring three others.

“It is hard enough when you lose one soldier,” Aguto said. “But when you lose three at one time, that pain is amplified. And we are really feeling and sharing that pain.”

The pain was further amplified by the realization that these men died in training at their “home base,” not in a faraway combat zone.

The doomed men of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade have been identified asSFC Bryan Jenkins, 41, of Gainesville, Florida; CPL Thomas Cole Walker, 22, of Conneaut, Ohio; and PFC Antonio Garcia, 21, of Peoria, Arizona.

All hailing from completely different parts of the country, the odd mix of hometowns drove home the notion that the Army is a community that brings people together from all walks of life- and makes the collective loss that much more tragic.

In heart-wrenching details released by Aguto, the Bradley was operating near the Georgia city of Savannah when it rolled off of a bridge and became submerged upside-down in a body of water.

SFC Jenkins was two years from retirement and had enlisted three days after 9/11. He spent two tours in Iraq between 2005 and 2008.

The younger Soldiers in his charger, Walker and Garcia, had never seen combat and had less than five years of service between them.

“You were my soulmate,” Walker’s 19-year-old wife, Taylor Walker, said of her husband on social media. “You made the world a better place for me. I never thought the day would come where I’d lose my husband, partner, & the love of my life. I am so thankful a beautiful kind soul like you came into my life. I’m so thankful I was married to you even if our time together was short. You had big plans. We both did. You will always make me proud and from now on everything I do will be for you. You have my heart Thomas Walker. You always will. God had other plans for us. I love you forever & always my dear. And I’ll continue to make green bean casserole & Korean spaghetti for you.”

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