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Army soldier, 19, found dead at Texas military base on New Year’s Eve

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 2, 2021

By Nelson Oliveira New York Daily News

Army officials are investigating the death of a 19-year-old soldier who was found unresponsive at a Texas military base on New Year’s Eve.

Pfc. Asia Graham was pronounced dead Thursday after her body was found in her barracks room at Fort Bliss, headquartered in El Paso. The circumstances surrounding her death are under investigation, authorities said in a news release Saturday.

The North Carolina native joined the Army in July 2019 and arrived at Fort Bliss five months later after completing combat training in Missouri and South Carolina, according to the release. She was assigned to the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade, where she served as a human resource specialist.

“The Iron Eagle team is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate,” said Col. Geoffrey Whittenberg, the brigade’s commander.

“Pfc. Graham was a valued member of the Iron Eagle team and did an outstanding job for this Battalion,” he said in a statement. “Her loss is felt not just in our formations but across the Army. We lost a skilled human resource specialist who wanted nothing more than to serve her country and her battle buddies.”

Graham’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and an Army Service Ribbon.

The latest incident adds to a string of mysterious disappearances and deaths at or near Army posts in Texas.

Fort Bliss authorities are still searching for Pfc. Richard Halliday, who disappeared from the base in July and was initially thought to have intentionally fled the post.

But it was another Army base that repeatedly made headlines in 2020. About 25 soldiers enlisted at Fort Hood died from suicide, accidents or homicide in the past year, including Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was killed and dismembered before her remains were found in early July.

Investigators believe that a fellow soldier, Spc. Aaron Robinson, murdered her and then killed himself as police tried to take him into custody.

Fourteen senior Army officers were later fired or suspended after authorities blamed their leadership failures for the surge of violence at Fort Hood.

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