23-Year-Old Fort Hood Army Soldier Dies During Training Incident in California

by Matthew Memrick

Fort Hood officials say a 23-year-old Army soldier died in California, and an investigation opened into the fatal training incident.

Spc. Joseph M. Meitl Jr. died during training in Fort Irwin, Calif., according to the Fort Hood Press Center.

Meitl joined the Army in May 2020. After completing initial training, he joined the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st CAV Division. 

Meitl worked in the brigade’s collective training at NTC over the past week, Fort Hood Press Center said. The New York Post reported on the fallen trooper this weekend.

Late Soldier A ‘Valuable’ Member At Fort Hood

Meitl developed several friendships during his time at the Texas base.

Lt. Col. Christopher Carpenter said the young trooper was an “incredible trooper and teammate” during his time there. Officials said the trooper’s unit would support and assist Meitl’s family following his death.

Carpenter added that the Fort Hood soldier’s death affected many at the base.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to his spouse, family, and friends,” Carpenter said.

Fort Hood has been in the news about soldier deaths in the past few years. Twenty-year-old Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen died two years ago at a Fort Hood armory. 

In October, local officials honored three US Army commanding officers for their efforts. The men saved a soldier from suicide near Fort Hood.

Sergeant 1st Class Nicholas Ketch, Staff Sergeant Stephen Gulczynski, and Staff Sergeant Corey Clark received the “Life Saving Award” from the Bell County Sheriff’s Department. A Belton police officer also got an honor for his help in saving the soldier. 

The intoxicated soldier threatened to jump from a nearby waterfall, but the group worked to pull the service member away from the railing and prevented the Fort Hood soldier from his taking his life.

Veterans Worry About Illnesses

Another Army base was a subject of a late February investigation by veterans over a link to illnesses.

An Associated Press report said several veterans wondered if they had gotten cancer and other terrible maladies from living and working at Ford Ord, Calif.

Fort Ord is a two-hour drive south of San Francisco, and it’s now a growing community for many who are unaware of the base’s past.

Many toxic chemicals were used and then dumped on the base’s grounds. Some trash got burned in pits. Other chemicals reached the groundwater.

The New york Post said soldiers and civilians never questioned if the tap water in that area was safe to drink.