Fair Haven Soldier Dies in Army Training Exercise

February 2, 2019
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1st Batallion, 36th Infantry via Facebook

A Fair Haven man was among two soldiers killed and seven others reportedly injured during a U.S. Army training exercise Jan. 22 in New Mexico.

Pfc. Jamie R. Riley, 21, a native of the borough, died from injuries sustained following a crash between two Stryker armored fighting vehicles at the McGregor Range Training Complex in Chapparal, New Mexico, part of the Fort Bliss, Texas, Army base.

Riley was part of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, serving as a cavalry scout. He joined the Army a year ago and was assigned to Fort Bliss in June 2018 as part of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

A Facebook post from Jan. 25 from the Fair Haven Fire Department read: “Hearts are broken in Fair Haven as we mourn the tragic loss of one of our hometown heroes, U.S. Army Pvt. First Class Jamie Riley. Keep his family, friends and fellow soldiers in your thoughts & prayers, including FHFD Life Member/Ex-Chief (grandfather) John Riley Sr. and Ex-Chief (uncle) John Riley Jr. God bless and thank you Jamie for serving your country.”

Riley was a graduate of Red Bank Catholic where he played football and ran track and field. The school held a Mass for him Jan. 30, attended by current juniors and seniors.

Riley’s Army awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Air Assault badge.

“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we announce the unfortunate loss of two of our Ready First Soldiers and injuries to several others in a tragic event that occurred Tuesday evening,” said Col. Michael J. Trotter, commander of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, in a statement.

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“On behalf of the entire 1st Armored Division and Team Bliss family, we extend our condolences to the families of both Soldiers,” Fort Bliss officials said in a statement. “We have lost two members of our family.”

Cpl. Cole Trevor Wixom, 24, also died in the accident. He was an infantryman and native of Bloomingdale, Michigan.

Read Pfc. Riley’s full obituary.

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