Two soldiers killed by a falling tree identified in Georgia


The two soldiers, who died while training on a mountain range in Georgia, were identified on Wednesday when it was revealed they were fatally struck by a falling tree, the army said.

The two fallen soldiers, 2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon and Staff Sgt. George Taber and three others were struck by the tree while they were on Yonah Mountain north of Atlanta, officials said.

Fitzgibbon and Taber were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Two of the three wounded soldiers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the other is in stable condition, the army said.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and leadership of these two outstanding leaders who unexpectedly lost their lives in the pursuit of excellence,” Fort Benning told the U.S. Army in a Facebook post.

Fitzgibbon graduated from West Point and entered service in May 2021. He was an infantry officer assigned to the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, 199th Infantry “Leader Brigade” at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Staff Sgt. George L. Taber, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 2017

Tader, who joined the Army in 2017, was a Special Forces Medical Sergeant assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

They were part of the training program with the Maneuver Center of Excellence.

An 18-year-old Evan Fitzgibbon shows his certificate of appointment to West Point Academy.
An 18-year-old Evan Fitzgibbon shows his certificate of appointment to West Point Academy. In 2021 he would graduate.

“Those who voluntarily attend Ranger School represent the very best in our military,” Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade commander Col. Christopher C. Hammonds said, according to 11 Alive News. “This loss resonates throughout our army and throughout our nation.”

Soldiers took shelter after their training was delayed Tuesday due to the weather, the army said, 11 Alive News reported.

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of these two outstanding soldiers and offer our heartfelt condolences to their families,” said Maj. Gen. Curtis A. Buzzard of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Commanding General, the news agency reported. “You are in our thoughts and prayers.”

This is the second time in as many months that soldiers have been killed and injured in Georgia.

In late July, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Clark was killed when struck by lightning at Fort Gordon near Augusta while nine other Soldiers were injured.

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