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Valley man among three soldiers killed in Georgia training accident

Posted at 2:12 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 09:52:16-04

FORT STEWART, GA — A team of Army accident investigators is looking into a weekend training accident that killed three soldiers and injured three others in Georgia.

Among the three killed was 21-year-old Peoria resident PFC Antonio Garcia.

Family members say Antonio Garcia was a triplet. The lone brother, he always protected his sisters, and had a desire to do the same for his country.

Fort Stewart officials say the soldiers were in an armored Bradley fighting vehicle that rolled over in water during a training exercise at 3:20 a.m. Sunday.

Garcia was a 2016 graduate of Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix. Former classmates say Garcia was known for his kindness.

During a press conference Monday, the three soldiers killed were identified as:

PFC Antonio Garcia, Arizona
Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Jenkins of Florida
Corporal Thomas Cole, Ohio

In a news release, officials say a team from the Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, is investigating.

“Today is a heartbreaking day for the 3rd Infantry Division, and the entire Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield community, as we are all devastated after a training accident this morning on the Fort Stewart Training Area,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division. “We are extremely saddened by the loss of three Dogface Soldiers, and injuries to three more. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families affected by this tragedy."

They were assigned to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division.

Fort Stewart is located in southeast Georgia.

Details regarding any memorials or the funeral service for Garcia have yet to be released. Garcia's family provided ABC15 with the following statement regarding the passing of Antonio:

“As a family we are shocked and devastated by the loss of our beloved Antonio. While his time was far too short we are so thankful and appreciative of the time we had with him. He was the most brave, kind-hearted and loving person we have had the privilege of knowing. He loved his family, friends and his country. We love him with every fiber of our beings and we will cherish and celebrate his life and carry on his memory forever. We ask that others do the same, while also respecting the privacy and space we need to heal in such a heart breaking time.”