A paratrooper who died Monday during training was performing a static-line parachute jump from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when she suffered a fatal injury, 82nd Airborne Division officials said Wednesday.
Spc. Abigail Jenks, 21, was assigned to the division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team when she died during the training operation at Sicily Drop Zone on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Division spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Burns declined to comment further about the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.
A team from the Army Combat Readiness Center was dispatched to Bragg Tuesday from its home post of Fort Rucker, Alabama, to lead the investigation.
Jenks, a native of Gansevoort, New York, was a fire support specialist serving as a forward observer in 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
“Spc. Abigail Jenks was a creative, hardworking, and confident Paratrooper. Her love for art, animals, and her friends reverberated wherever she worked,” said Capt. Brian Norman, Jenks’ battery commander, in a statement. “Her compassion for fellow Paratroopers will be truly missed.”
Jenks enlisted in October 2018 and was assigned to Fort Bragg in June 2019 after completing training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Spc. Jenks was a dedicated Paratrooper, gifted forward observer, loyal friend, and talented artist who consistently made a tremendous impact on all around her,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Walsh, the deceased soldier’s regiment commander, in his statement.
“She will be dearly missed. We are ensuring every resource is available to her family and peers to help them during this difficult time,” Walsh’s statement added.
Jenks is survived by her parents.
The 82nd Airborne Division also lost a paratrooper during jump training in mid-September, when Pfc. Jean Cruz De Leon, 20, experienced a parachute malfunction at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The results of that mishap investigation have been requested through the Freedom of Information Act, but have not yet been released to Army Times.
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.