Names released of Nevada soldiers hurt in training crash

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FORT POLK, LA (KOLO) - The Nevada National Guard has released the names of three Nevada Guardsmen hurt in a training accident in Louisiana.

The Nevada Army Guard soldiers are 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Damian Jorgensen of Las Vegas, 27-year-old Spc. Patrick Kelly of Henderson, and 23-year-old Spc. Brennan Garcia of Las Vegas. None sustained a life-threatening injury.

34-year-old Staff Sgt. Jacob A. Hess of Belton, Missouri, was killed in the crash. He was assigned to the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne). 12 others, including the Nevada soldiers, were wounded during a training incident at Fort Polk, Louisiana May 15, 2019.

All the 72nd soldiers are set to return to Nevada when the unit's annual training concludes May 25.

The Nevada National Guard reports the accident occurred when the drivers of several military vehicles failed to navigate a turn on uneven terrain.
The wounded soldiers sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), and are assigned to 72nd Military Police Company, Nevada Army National Guard, in Las Vegas and 95th CA Brigade, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. All service members involved were evaluated and screened for injuries.

The incident remains under investigation by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, headquartered at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

"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," says Col. Charles R. Burnett, commander of the 95th CA Brigade. "Jacob's character and professionalism display his dedication and service to the brigade and its mission."

Burnett adds, "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."

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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Photo of SSG Jacob Hess courtesy US Army