Family wants answers to why USAF Staff Sgt. died after incident in Middle East


The grieving family of an Air Force Staff Sgt. is looking for answers to what circumstances caused his death last week.

According to a release from the Department of Defense,  26-year-old James Tyler Grotjan was injured in a non-combat related incident at Al-Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates July 8.

Four days later, he was taken off of life support at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany with his parents and wife by his side.

He had just deployed overseas supporting Operation Inherent Resolve two months before his death, according to NBC.

Taylor Grotjan, his wife, said she believed his work as a plumber assigned to the Air Force’s 4th Civil Engineers Squadron would keep him out of harm’s way while deployed.

“When he signed up we picked a safe job, a job that didn’t require a ton of risk, because I was scared,” she said.

Grotjan’s mother said she was told that her son was exposed to a methane gas leak, suffered cardiac arrest, and fell while in a manhole but she still has questions about what happened.

“There is an unknown time frame of his extent of exposure to the gases,” a fundraiser page  -which has raised $28,000 in ten days- for Grotjan’s family stated.  “However, upon trying to climb out of the manhole Tyler went unconscious falling back down into the manhole.”

The Air Force says the incident is under investigation and had yet to release any findings.

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