A soldier who died within the training grounds at Fort Irwin, California, on Monday has been identified by post officials.

Pfc. Justin Candido Kirby, 21, was killed in a vehicle accident at the National Training Center. Another soldier was injured in the incident, which remains under investigation.

The accident took place on the unit’s third training day and involved an M1113 HMMWV performing combat maneuvers, said Fort Irwin spokesman Jason Miller.

The other injured soldier was picked up by a military helicopter and brought to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. He has already been released after being medically cleared by hospital staff.

Kirby was assigned to Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is garrisoned at Fort Irwin. He was originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts.

“Pfc. Kirby was well known across the regiment and his passing has deeply affected us all,” regiment commander Col. Scott Woodward said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fellow Soldiers.”

The accident that took Kirby’s life hasn’t been fully detailed by Army officials. However, it comes one week after Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Congress he is concerned about the rise in training accidents and deaths.

In fiscal year 2019, the Army suffered a total of 55 Class A mishaps and 61 Class B mishaps, 28 soldier casualties and $362 million in damaged or lost equipment not related to losses in combat.

“I’m very concerned about some of the training exercises we had where ... we lost some soldiers very tragically,” McConville said.

The large number and cost of mishaps comes as the Army increasingly focuses on large-scale combat.

“Some of this is getting back to being around very large and expensive equipment, where we started maneuvering our forces, which is very different than what we were doing before," he added. "All of sudden you have armored vehicles moving in very difficult terrain.”

The accident that took Kirby’s life occurred in a light utility vehicle, however, and the cause of the accident has not been released.

Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.

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