September 21, 2005 in City

Davenport Army Ranger dies in training jump

From staff and wire reports
The Spokesman-Review photo

Pfc. Blake W. Samodell
(Full-size photo)

The Army Ranger killed in a parachute training jump at Fort Lewis last week was a 24-year-old from Davenport, Wash., the military said Monday.

Pfc. Blake W. Samodell, a native of Brush Prairie, Wash., was pronounced dead at Madigan Army Medical Center after the accident Thursday afternoon, according to a press release from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Samodell’s death was announced at Friday’s Davenport High School football game. Although he wasn’t a student there, he was a volunteer coach for the school’s wrestling team while his younger brother was on the squad, said Rawleigh Fisk, Davenport’s wrestling coach.

“He came to every practice for a whole year. He came to everything. He always backed me up and was always there to help out in any way he could,” Fisk said.

“He had a lot to offer.”

Two other Rangers were injured in the jump and were reported in critical condition Monday, the command said.

Their names were not released.

The Rangers were making a training jump when their parachutes became entangled, the news release said.

Samodell was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis.

He enlisted in the Army in May 2004 and arrived at the post south of Tacoma last December.

He was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year.

Samodell is survived by his mother Vicki Samodell of Davenport, his father William Samodell of Phoenix, Ariz., brother Bryce Samodell of Phoenix and fiancee Amy Mirenna Sandaker of University Place, near Walla Walla.

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