COLUMBIA, S.C. — For the second time in the last eight days, a drill sergeant assigned to Fort Jackson in South Carolina has been found dead, according to reports.
Staff Sgt. Zachary L. Melton, 30, was found unresponsive Saturday inside his vehicle at the military installation, the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Jackson said in a news release, according to WLTX-TV.
Melton was located by Army personnel after he failed to arrive for work. The 10-year veteran was assigned as a drill sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment.
“We are extremely saddened by the loss of Staff Sgt. Melton,” said Fort Jackson’s commander, Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly. “Our thoughts are with his family and the soldiers of the Always Forward battalion during this very emotional time.”
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division is handling the case, and has not yet provided a cause of death.
Melton hailed from Huntsville, Alabama. His His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with C device, Army Commendation Medal (3 times); Army Achievement Medal (2 times); National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
On Dec. 8, Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram, 34, was found dead at the fort after he had failed to report for work, Fox News reported.
“As a Fort Jackson community, we are mourning the tragic loss of two of our drill sergeants within the past few weeks,” Kelly said. “While there are several ongoing investigations into the specifics of each of these deaths, we are taking very deliberate steps to ensure our resiliency resource offerings are adequate and responsive.”
Officials previously said there were no signs of foul play regarding Burtram’s death.