Skip to comments.West Point cadet from W. Va. dies during training
Posted on 07/24/2011 4:50:45 PM PDT by chargers fan
WEST POINT, N.Y. U.S. Military Academy officials were investigating Friday how an apparently healthy, athletic 18-year-old West Point cadet died during a land navigation exercise. Cadet Jacob D. Bower of Fairmont, W.Va., was found unresponsive Thursday by fellow cadets in a largely wooded area used for training. Attempts to revive Bower were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at 6:05 p.m. The incident and cause of death are under investigation. Temperatures in the Hudson Valley were in the 90s Thursday, but West Point's Lt. Col. Sherri Reed said it was not clear if high temperatures were a factor.
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i’m about 30 minutes from West Point and can tell you the weather (heat/humidity) has been unbearable since Thursday- i run daily and pride myself on running every day in all sorts of weather but i was even becoming concerned it was so bad...
Tragic. But let this child’s life remind us, none of us are guarenteed even one minute more, no matter what our physical shape.
Heat stroke; someone’s career is in jeopardy for not monitoring his fluid intake.
Compared to the other training, I found the land nav course to be relatively low on the exertion scale. However, it was one of the few instances in which you would spend extensive periods of time alone. Anything could have happened...but I wouldn’t instantly blame the heat.
When going through Airborne training as an ROTC cadet in August, a long, long time ago, the Black Hats made sure everyone was hydraded and run through the showers 2-3 times per day. When you are soaking wet from a cold shower, 95 degrees is actually comfortable.
Last night I was trying to figure out when I went to Jump School, I came up with July, but had forgotten some courses and now think it was closer to the end of August, I thought it was pretty hot then, but I had already been spending all my time at Ft.Polk and then Fort Sill, so it was nothing new.
Yeah, one of the problems with heat exhaustion/stroke is that at some point a person doesn’t feel thirsty, and if they are not experienced with heat or don’t have someone to nag them into drinking more water, they can get into real trouble.
It's dangerous. God bless the men that choose to train themselves to protect the country.
We lose more fighter pilots in training than in combat.
War, even training for war, is dangerous and not for sissies.
Hand salute for the Cadet.
IIRC, during Beast the New Cadets were paired up. There wasn't seperate land nav until Buckner (sophmore year training for the non USMA guys here).
What does this have to do anything? So, this kid deserved to die because Obama appointed a lesbian to the WP oversight group? Go trash another school.
She may be involved in the investigation in the Cadet Bowers death.
She would have lied on her application to enter the military and the paperwork prior to her initial physical. Now she may be involved in the investigation.
No intent to trash the school. Obama is trashing it by making her appointment.
So sad for his family.
One of his classmates was with us at Church today, Sad story. The young man with us completed the course but had heat stroke himself.
Sadly, despite all precautions, there are a number of military personnel who die each year in training accidents. Back in 1991, General (then Lt. Colonel) David Petraeus was nearly killed when a soldier tripped during a live-fire exercise and accidentally shot him in the chest.
Back during WW2, thousands of airmen perished in flight training accidents. The Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville contains dozens of mass graves from the transport aircraft crashes that occurred in the region. Bowman Field was one of the primary transport pilot training facilities in the country, as well as the site of the main production plant for the Curtiss C-46 Commando. They would take young pilots, some with less than twenty hours of flight time, and place them behind the wheel of a brand new C-46. Unfortunately, some of these aircraft had construction flaws (due to the hasty assembly times necessitated by the war) and would suffer severe problems while in flight. If they had an experienced pilot with a couple hundred hours of flight time, they might have recovered; but with a rookie pilot who usually only has a few dozen hours, the results were often catastrophic.
As an old West Point mom, I guarantee you that the fluid intakes are monitored constantly, with the speakers calling out the heat index every 15 minutes or so.
My son explained to us that the upperclassmen stopped them during exercise, and made them drink until they “sloshed” when the heat index indicated it was necessary.
My guess is that this cadet was out in the field, maybe alone?, had plenty of water with him, and just neglected to do it. I hope this isn’t the case, because he seemed like he had enough prior training in high school sports to understand the importance of hydration.
But, we do not really know yet if heat/dehydration was the cause. There are deaths on the sports playing field every year, caused by undiagnosed rare heart defects that have not been picked up on the standard tests.
You would not believe how much care is taken to keep the cadets safe at West Point. My son lost a lot of weight during “beast barracks”, and the upperclassmen in charge would weigh him daily, and bring him additional food outside of the regular meals to try to help him keep from losing any more.
They do feed the cadets a humongeous amount of calories a day, but some of them lose weight at the beginning anyway, until they begin to put on some muscle.
They take it very seriously, and this is a tragedy. I weep for his parents, who have lost so much!
We used to have a group of six to nine soldiers who used to run starting at 1500 in the Texas heat. The Chief of Staff even told us he thought we were crazy, but we all maxed our runs in Oct or Nov. Still. it is a sad RIP for the cadet.
I went through in August of 88 during the heatwave that killed so many people throughout the south. Unbelievable heat, humidity, and blisters! The blackhats kept us hydrated with 1 canteen every 30 minutes and amazingly enough I don’t remember any heat casualties. We had a few guys finish jump week with fractures though.
When were you at Ft. Polk? My son was there in ‘93 and ‘94; I visited him there...it was such a beautiful drive from Lake Charles to Leesville.
You weren't at Aberdeen PG in 1988 in the ANOC 63Z prep course, were you? You sound like my roommate.
No, I went through Jump School in 1972.
I was a road guard on the ten mile march in basic.....carrying a full pack w/ shelter half n weapon. After the last soldier past the road crossing..had to run..back to my place behind the squad leader. The pitfalls being tall...but it helped me in Vietnam.
The column kept extending..and extending..
I was at Polk for Basic in February, 1972, it was a great base for that, with Little Vietnam, and a great POW camp for training and such.
Heat stroke; someones career is in jeopardy for not monitoring his fluid intake.
My first thought too.
The column kept extending..and extending..
Tell me. I'm 6'1" and was 6'2" in basic and in the 4th platoon. I was road guard on many marches too. We kept bitching about the slow troops in front. One day they decided to let 4th platoon lead the march. We stayed in formation and the rest was strung out for hundreds of yards. That was the only time we ever led a march.
For someone looking for a home for a family it would be bad, but for soldiering it was great, it was a very hard core base during the war.
My neighbor’s son graduated this year from West Point. I hardly recognized him when he came by to visit. They made his a true man among men.
He was single during his stay at Polk, and even gave Ft Hood a thought, since he was an expert on the M1 series MBT.
Probably not ... it was an unfortunate incident but basic military training is arduous and occasionally a death does occur. I survived 13 weeks of basic at Parris Island, I was there April into July. Recruits arriving in June & July were always more at risk ... even though training was adjusted allowing them to acclimate ... most summers the rigorous schedule and heat claimed a victim or two, in spite of reasonable precautions.
I remember going AWOL to party in Leesville with my best friend, who had a pass, there were pimps, hookers, a Madam that pulled a gun on us some hard partying, dodging MPs who seemed everywhere and then I returned totally wasted and reported for Arms room guard, shot the breeze with the Sergeant for a while, and then went in, shut the door, pulled out some cardboard for a bed, and went to sleep in the arms room.
By then my friend and I had a good reputation as hard charging trainees but hard partiers, and nothing came of it, as I knew it wouldn’t, I still left basic as an E-3.
When I was going through Quantico in 68, the SNCOs were still having nightmares about the decade prior episode where where some DIs marched a platoon through the swamp and several died of exposure.
When I played ball in HS and college..coaches wouldn't allow us to drink during practice....it was a mark of weakness. Bear Bryant was famous for that. It's amazing that half of the SEC football teams of the 50's didn't drop dead during summer camp.
We lost a guy from heatstroke in basic, and nothing came of it. Back then the big deal (nationally) was an occasional nut flipping out on the firing ranges and trying to kill people, I don’t know how many times it happened around the nation, but cadre used to keep their pistols ready and stay very alert.
That sounds like Ft Belvoir when I was there in the early 70s.
May have been a heart problem not directly related to the high temp/humidity/improper hydration. A number of young athletes die every year while practicing or competing. That’s why schools now have defib units (AED) in school and they take them with them on the road. Students are trained to use them in phys ed/health classes.
When you are alone, of course, you are in trouble.
Here’s a brochure and an article:
There seemed to be two types of NCO back then political type, and war type, the war types liked me and the politicals didn’t.
One of the saddest things that I saw in the Army was in late 1973 when they started drumming out the officers as we shifted (instantly) into a peace time Army, it seemed like the best were the first to go, and the weakest got to stay, I didn’t know them or their records well of course, but my street instincts that were highly developed before I went in, were not happy up with the choices I was seeing, some of that peacetime transition really bothered me and the military of the later 1970s showed that I was reading it correctly.
Your talking about The Ribbon Creek incident.
Our military training is so much tougher and more focused than almost every single country in the world. China and Russia do not put anywhere near the kind of emphasis on realistic training that we do. We lose lives but win wars.
>>> We lose more fighter pilots in training than in combat.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across the figures for WW2 Air Corps losses in training accidents. Over 12,000 dead. Many thousands more injured.
As for the unfortunate cadet, for all we know he tripped and hit his head. Let’s wait a few days and see what actually happened before assuming negligence by the Academy.
People die for 100,000 differnt reasons. I’m just sorry this one died.
RIP, young man.
long grey line? what year? H-3 ‘91 here
Prayers up. May God welcome this young warrior.
Too many of the good die young.