A soldier deployed to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, died Tuesday while swimming, officials said Thursday.
Pfc. Matthew Cox, 19, was a member of the Iowa Army National Guard’s 186th Military Police Company of Camp Dodge, Iowa.
Cox, of Leon, Iowa, was deployed to Cuba in support of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo.
On Tuesday, Cox and four other service members were swimming at Cable Beach when he was overpowered by the strong current, officials with the Iowa Guard said in a statement.
First responders began search-and-rescue operations using divers, boats and aircraft. They found Cox’s body on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The other four service members were not injured.
An investigation is underway.
“This is indeed a sad day for the Iowa National Guard. The loss of a soldier under any circumstances is difficult. My heart aches for Matthew’s family as well as the soldiers he served with in the 186th MP Company,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cox family and his fellow soldiers. We will do everything in our power to assist them during this difficult time.”
Cox enlisted in the Iowa Guard in October 2017 as a military police soldier with the 186th MP Company.
He had been deployed to Cuba since July.
His awards include the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Cox is survived by his parents and his brother.