Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, 44, from Bowie, Maryland, died in a non-combat incident, Defense Department officials said in a statement. No details of the death were released and the incident is under investigation, the statement added.
Tuesday night, officials from the joint task force in Iraq said COVID-19 is not the suspected cause of death.
Hilty joined the Army in April 1999 as a combat engineer, according to his service history released by Fort Hood. His most recent military occupational specialty was petroleum supply specialist.
Hilty was in Erbil supporting the Inherent Resolve mission to defeat the Islamic State group. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.
“TF ATTACK is deeply saddened by the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Hilty," said battalion commander Lt. Col. Adam Camarano in a statement. “He was an exceptional leader who will be sorely missed throughout the entire formation. His loss will not be forgotten and his legacy will continue through the outstanding performance of the Soldiers he led.”
The deceased soldier deployed three times to Afghanistan in January 2009, January 2012 and October 2016. His most recent deployment to Iraq started in October.
Hilty is the sixth U.S. service member to die this year in support of Inherent Resolve. Two other troops, an airman and a soldier, were killed in a rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq, in mid-March.
Hilty’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, four Army Commendation Medals, campaign medals from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Korean Defense Service Medal.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have 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.