2 Drill Sergeants Found Dead in 8 Days at South Carolina Base

Army is investigating both deaths at Fort Jackson
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2023 2:00 AM CST
2 Drill Sergeants Found Dead in 8 Days at South Carolina Base
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / vasile voicu)

On December 8, a drill sergeant was found dead at South Carolina's Fort Jackson. Eight days later, a second drill sergeant was also found dead at the Army base. The Army says its Criminal Investigation Division is investigating both deaths, CNN reports. Staff Sgt. Allen M. Burtram, 34, was found dead on the base earlier this month after he failed to report to work; the Army said there was no evidence of foul play. Then Saturday, Staff Sgt. Zachary L. Melton, 30, also failed to report to work and was ultimately found dead in his car on the base, Fox News reports.

"We are extremely saddened by the loss of Staff Sgt. Melton," said Fort Jackson's commander said in a statement following Melton's death. "Our thoughts are with his family and the soldiers of the Always Forward battalion during this very emotional time." The Army is making military chaplains and behavioral health personnel available for anyone in the units who needs them. Fort Jackson is home to more than 3,500 active-duty soldiers and is the Army's primary basic combat training facility, per CNN. Melton had been in the Army for more than a decade, and a drill sergeant for the past three years. Burtram had been in the Army a dozen years; he'd been deployed to Kuwait for eight months and also served a year in Korea. (More US Army stories.)

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