Army releases name of Special Operations Soldier killed in Fort Polk training accident

Army releases name of Special Operations Soldier killed in Fort Polk training accident
Staff Sgt. Jacob Hess (Source: Fort Bragg)

FORT POLK, La. (KPLC / KALB) - The Army has released the name of a soldier killed while training at Fort Polk Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Jacob A. Hess, 34, of Belton, Missouri, died of injuries sustained during the training. 12 others were wounded during a training incident on May 15, 2019, according to information from Fort Bragg.

Hess was assigned to the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“On behalf of the Soldiers and Families of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, I extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to Staff Sgt. Hess’ Family,” said Col. Charles R. Burnett, commander of the 95th CA Bde. “Jacob’s character and professionalism display his dedication and service to the brigade and its mission.”

“Jacob was a talented noncommissioned officer and dedicated member of the brigade. He will be greatly missed by those who had the great fortune and opportunity to know him.”

The wounded soldiers involved sustained non-life threatening injuries. They are assigned to 95th CA Bde., 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and 72nd Military Police Company, Nevada Army National Guard, in Las Vegas. All service members involved were evaluated and screened for injuries.

Information about Hess from Fort Bragg:

Hess was born in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, on May 20, 1984. He graduated from Grandview Senior High School in 2003 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in 2004.

He attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. His first assignment was with 129th Transportation Company in New Century, Kansas.

After a year in the Army Reserves, he reclassified and enlisted in the Active Army and was assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a heavy equipment operator and later as a squad leader. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008, and again from 2009-2010.

His next assignment was with 561st Engineer Company at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he served as a squad leader and company operations sergeant. In 2013, Hess completed the Civil Affairs Qualification Course and was assigned to 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th CA Bde., as a Civil Affairs noncommissioned officer.

While assigned to 97th CA Bn., Hess participated in Joint Combined Exchange Training in South Korea and Indonesia. He also served as a member of the Civil Military Support Element in Cambodia.

Hess is a graduate of Airborne School, Combat Life Savers Course, Route Reconnaissance and Clearance Course, Basic Leader Course, Master Driver Trainer Course, Advanced Leader Course, Airload Planner Course, Automated Airload Planner Course, Army Combatives Course Level 1, Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection, Senior Leader Course, Chinese-Mandarin Special Operations Language Course, Civil Affairs Qualification Course, Mobile Force Protection Course, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course.

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (fourth award), Army Achievement Medal (sixth award), Meritorious Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation, Army Good Conduct Medal (fourth award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star (second award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (third award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (third award), Parachutist Badge, and Italian Airborne Wings.

He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

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