Fort Stewart to honor three troops killed in vehicle rollover

Private memorial service planned at Georgia military installation

Fort Stewart is preparing to hold a private memorial service Thursday for the three troops who were killed there during a training accident early in the morning of Oct. 20.

The Savannah-area military installation will honor Pfc. Antonio Gilbert Garcia, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Andrew Jenkins, 41, of Gainesville, Fla.; and Cpl. Thomas Cole Walker, 22, of Conneaut, Ohio.

Meanwhile, the investigation of how they died continues. In addition to the 3rd Infantry Division, teams from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are probing the accident.

The troops were training for a deployment to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. in February when the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle they were riding rolled off a bridge and became submerged — upside down — in a stream. That represents at least the third fatal military vehicle rollover involving Georgians this year.

A funeral was scheduled for Jenkins Wednesday in Pembroke, Ga., according to an obituary published by the Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville. Born in Gainesville, Fla., he served 18 years in the U.S. Army, did two tours in Iraq, enjoyed fishing and was a shadetree mechanic, says his obituary. He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, two brothers and a sister.

Walker graduated in 2016 from Conneaut High School in Ohio, where he played football, according to an obituary published by the Marcy Funeral Home in Conneaut.

“He was an amazing young man who enjoyed hosting backyard BBQ’s with his friends and family,” the obituary says. “He was passionate, selfless, and had an infectious smile everyone loved.”

He is survived by his wife, who he married in May; his father; brother and three sisters. A funeral has been scheduled for him for Saturday in Conneaut.

Last week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Twitter that flags would be lowered to half-staff on Oct. 22 in honor of Garcia.

“U.S. Army Pfc. Antonio Garcia served our nation honorably,” Ducey said. “He will be remembered for his commitment to duty and willingness to serve.”

In a statement published by the Daily Independent newspaper in Sun City, Ariz., Garcia's father and mother called him "brave, kindhearted and loving" and said he "loved his family, friends and his country."

“As a family, we are shocked and devastated by the loss of our beloved Antonio. While his time was far too short, we are so thankful and appreciative of the time we had with him,” the statement says. “We love him with every fiber of our beings and we will cherish and celebrate his life and carry on his memory forever.”