A U.S. soldier assigned to patrol the nation’s border with Mexico was found dead Sunday near Ajo, Arizona. He is the second service member to die there this month.
The soldier was identified as Pfc. Kevin J. Christian of Haslet, Texas, The Associated Press reported.
The report said Christian was an infantryman with Army’s 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
He was sent to help U.S. border patrol agents deal with the large influx of illegal immigrants in recent months, Fox News reported.
While his death is under investigation, officials at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, indicated they do not suspect foul play, the AP reported.
Officials said in a statement that the military service member was with the Southwest Border Support Mission.
Base officials announced the death of the first service member on June 1. He too was with the Southwest Border Support Mission.
Pfc. Steven Hodges, 20, of Menifee, California, was found dead near Nogales, Arizona.
Officials indicated that they did not believe foul play was suspected in his death, either, the Army Times reported.
Hodges served as a grenadier with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He enlisted in the Army in 2017.
His unit was part of “Task Force Red Lion,” which conducted mobile surveillance at the border.
“Every Soldier in the Tomahawk Battalion is an essential member of our team. The loss of any soldier is deeply felt,” Lt. Col. Sean Lyons, the battalion commander, said in a statement, according to the Tuscon Sentinel.
“Private First Class Steven Hodges is sorely missed by his teammates and the entire Tomahawk family, every Soldier is a national treasure,” Lyons said.
“We are grateful for all the young men and women who volunteer to serve our nation. We are humbled at the sacrifices their families continue to make on a daily basis, Steven and his family are in our prayers,” he said.
Hodges was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon during his service.
Both soldiers were deployed as part of the Pentagon’s mission under President Donald Trump’s orders to support the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to deal with the continuing crisis at the border.
The Pentagon has deployed thousands of troops to the border as the continual influx of migrants has stretched the resources of the Border Patrol agency beyond the breaking point.
The extra troop support is expected to cost $7.4 million through September of this year.
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