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Fort Bragg identifies paratrooper, 20, killed during jump training

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PICTURED: Fort Bragg paratrooper, 20, who was killed during jump training when his parachute ‘malfunctioned’ in Georgia

  • On Thursday Fort Bragg announced a paratrooper died in a jump training accident on Wednesday at Fort Stewart in Georgia
  • Pfc Jean Cruz De Leon, 20, was assigned to division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team 
  • Officials say Cruz De Leon’s parachute malfunctioned during training 
  • The death comes five days after Fort Bragg paratrooper Sgt. David Eugene Hughes died on Friday in a motorcycle accident 

By Marlene Lenthang and Snejana Farberov For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

A Fort Bragg paratrooper who was killed in a training accident in Georgia on earlier this week has been identified. Army officials announced.

Pfc. Jean Cruz De Leon, 20, of Marrero, Louisiana, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division, lost his life during jump training at Fort Stewart in Georgia around 7pm on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Mike Burns, a spokesman for Fort Bragg in North Carolina, stated to Stars and Stripes that Cruz De Leon’s parachute malfunctioned during training.  

Fort Bragg has identified the paratrooper who was killed in a training accident on Wesnesday as Pfc Jean Cruz De Leon

Cruz De Leon, a grenadier and radio-transmitter operator at Fort Bragg, died after his parachute malfunctioned at Fort Stewart in Georgia

Cruz De Leon, a three-time volunteer, was assigned as a grenadier and radio-transmitter operator for 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s Alpha Company at Fort Bragg. 

‘Pfc. Cruz De Leon was a dedicated Soldier who believed in continuously honing his craft and contributing every day to our mission. He was an outstanding Paratrooper and friend whose actions assisted with the success of our unit,’ Lt. Col. Matthew Molly, commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said in a statement to WJCL

Cruz De Leon enlisted in the US Army in May 2019 and reported for duty at Fort Bragg last October. 

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Parachutist Badge.

Spc. Brandon Arnold, Weapons Squad Team leader, described the paratrooper as a great soldier who always made his comrades laugh when they were down.

Cruz De Leon enlisted in the US Army in May 2019 and reported for duty at Fort Bragg last October. He was remembered by his superiors as a great soldier and an outstanding paratrooper

Tyler Rodgers, Cruz De Leon’s friend from Basic Training, posted a Facebook message, reminiscing about his spirit and wisdom. 

‘He was happy. He was proud. As he should’ve been,’ he wrote. ‘Jean Cruz De Leon, you were my friend. I miss you. I wish I could’ve talked to you one more time. I love you, brother. Til Valhalla.’ 

The incident is currently under investigation, according to officials. 

The death comes just one day after the 82nd Airborne Division announced the death of another paratrooper, Sgt. David Eugene Hughes, who passed away on Friday in a tragic motorcycle accident.

The death comes just one day after the 82nd Airborne Division announced the death of another paratrooper, Sgt. David Eugene Hughes, who passed away on Friday in a tragic motorcycle accident

Hughes, 32, of Fresno, California was an unmanned aerial vehicle operator assigned to the division’s A Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment.

He crashed while riding his 2015 BMW motorcycle down Raeford Road just before midnight.

‘The shock of his sudden passing has been felt throughout the formation,’ Lt. Col. Margaret Stick, commander of the squadron, said.

‘Although only with the formation for a few short months, his professionalism, competence and caring demeanor made him an invaluable member of the team — a true friend and mentor. He will be greatly missed.’

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