National Guard Soldier dies during annual training in Arkansas

FORT CHAFFEE MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Barling, Ark.:--2-142nd A BAT fires howitzer during a Paladin Live Fire as a part of Annual Training 2016.

An Arkansas National Guard has reportedly died during a training accident at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, located near Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The soldier has been identified as 32-year-old Sylvester B. Cline who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard’s Company A, 39th Brigade Support Battalion, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat team.

Sergeant Sylvester, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas died at approximately 6:15 p.m., Tuesday June 14th at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith. The cause of death has not been determined and an investigation is ongoing.

Cline enlisted in the Arkansas National Guard in 2002 and was assigned as a Heavy Vehicle Driver.  The unit was at Fort Chaffee yesterday as part of the brigade’s annual training.

Cline, a veteran of a combat deployment to Iraq with the 39th Infantry Brigade in 2008, was awarded the Iraq Campaign medal and a Global War on Terror Service medal in addition to other awards and decorations.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Sgt. Cline,” said Maj. Gen. Mark H. Berry, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the soldiers in his unit. He will be remembered as a defender of freedom.”

LTC Joel Lynch, a spokesman for the brigade, told Popular Military,“we’re naturally deeply saddened that we lost one of our soldiers. I can’t remember the last time we even lost one of our own. It’s a shock.”

Cline, who as a civilian was a maintenance worker in Pine Bluff, is survived by four children and other family members.

The 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which consists of 1,300 soldiers, has been conducting its annual training at Fort Chaffee since June 4.

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