Skip to Content

Army investigating deaths of 2 drill sergeants in 8 days at Fort Jackson

By Devon M. Sayers and Chris Boyette, CNN

(CNN) — For the second time in a little over one week, an Army drill sergeant has been found dead at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

Staff Sgt. Zachary L. Melton, 30, who was with 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, was found unresponsive in his car on Saturday after he failed to report to work, military officials said Monday in a news release.

“Our thoughts are with his family and the soldiers of the Always Forward battalion during this very emotional time,” Fort Jackson’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, said.

Melton’s death comes a little over one week after another drill sergeant was found dead at the fort, which is the Army’s primary basic combat training facility.

On December 8, Staff Sgt. Allen M. Burtram, 34, a drill sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, was found dead after he didn’t report for work, the Army said.

The US Army Criminal Investigation Division is investigating both deaths. According to the Army, there was no evidence of foul play in Burtram’s death.

The Army is providing chaplains and behavioral health personnel to members of the units, the military branch said.

Melton’s unit graduated its last basic training cycle on Thursday. The resident of Huntsville, Alabama, had been in the Army for more than 10 years, the past three as a drill sergeant.

Burtram, who was from Cleveland, Alabama, spent 12 years in the Army and had been deployed to Kuwait for eight months and served in Korea for 12 months, according to the Army.

Fort Jackson is near Columbia, South Carolina, and is home to more than 3,500 active-duty soldiers, according to the military.

CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content