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Army identifies 2 Fort Benning soldiers killed in north Georgia after being struck by fallen tree

Officials said two soldiers were killed during a "weather-related" incident on Yonah Mountain. They later clarified that it was due to a fallen tree.

FORT BENNING, Ga. — Two Fort Benning soldiers died Tuesday after a "weather-related" incident in north Georgia's mountains, according to a spokesperson for the Army.

Army officials identified the two soldiers as 2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon and Staff Sgt. George Taber. Officials later clarified that they had died after being struck by a fallen tree around 3:15 p.m. on Yonah Mountain in White County. They were sheltering after their training had been put on hold due to the weather, Army officials said. They were part of the Maneuver Center of Excellence training program. 

Three other Ranger candidates were also injured and were treated by Army medics, then taken to a hospital for treatment, Army officials said. 

2nd Lt. Fitzgibbon and Staff Sgt. Taber were also taken to the hospital but were later pronounced dead, according to a release from the Army. 

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of these two outstanding Soldiers and send our heartfelt condolences to their families,” Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Commanding General Maj. Gen. Curtis A. Buzzard said. “They are in our thoughts and prayers.” 

Fitzgibbon was an infantry officer assigned to the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course and 199th Leader Brigade at Fort Benning. He was commissioned on May 22, 2021, from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. 

The U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Corps of Cadets offer our heartfelt sympathies upon the loss of 2nd Lt. Evan...

Posted by West Point - The U.S. Military Academy on Thursday, August 11, 2022

Taber was a Special Forces Medical Sergeant (18D) with the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base. He was enlisted on March 14, 2017.

“Those who volunteer to attend Ranger School represent the very best of our military,” Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade Commander Col. Christopher C. Hammonds said. “This loss resonates across our Army and across our nation.”

Back in July, another weather-related incident took place at a second Georgia military base. A lightning strike at Fort Gordon, a military base near Augusta, killed one and injured nine soldiers on July 20. 

This is a developing story. Check back often for new information.

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