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2016 MAHS graduate killed while serving in the Army in Alaska

Press & Journal Staff

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Posted 11/2/18

A 2016 Middletown Area High School graduate died Oct. 26 from a gunshot wound while stationed at Fort Wainwright in Alaska.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the death of …

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2016 MAHS graduate killed while serving in the Army in Alaska

Spc. Mason James Guckavan
Spc. Mason James Guckavan
Posted

A 2016 Middletown Area High School graduate died Oct. 26 from a gunshot wound while stationed at Fort Wainwright in Alaska.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the death of Spc. Mason James Guckavan, 21, who died in the barracks there. There is no official determination as to whether the discharge of the firearm was intentional or accidental.

According to U.S. Army Alaska, Guckavan was an infantryman with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, United States Army Alaska. He joined the Army from Middletown in August 2016. Following completion of training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in December 2016.

“Specialist Guckavan was a key member for the Bobcat Battalion over the past two years. He was a dedicated and loyal soldier, committed to the mission,” Lt. Col. Sonny Rosales, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, said in a press release. “We are devastated he is no longer with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, our priority right now is to take care of them, ensuring they have all the resources they need during this critical time.”

Guckavan was a kicker on the football team and played varsity soccer for the Blue Raiders.

"The Middletown Area School District is deeply saddened by the loss of Mason Guckavan, a 2016 graduate of Middletown Area High School," district Superintendent Lori Suski said in a statement emailed to the Press & Journal Friday.

"Mason was a varsity soccer player and part of a very close-knit group of student athletes who grew up together and played the sport from elementary school all the way up through their high school years. Our hearts go out to the Guckavan family as they cope with this tragic loss. Mason was a bright young man committed to serving our country in the U.S. Army, and we grieve with his family at this difficult time," Suski said.

John Pennell, media relations chief for U.S. Army Alaska, said how long the investigation takes depends on several factors and he couldn’t estimate when it will be finished.

Pennell said the barracks are similar to a hotel where soldiers have their own rooms with common areas to eat, play video games and watch television.

He said other soldiers were in the barracks but he did not know if they witnessed anything. That will be part of the investigation, he said.

Pennell said that, as a member of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, he would be a member of a team trained to use the Stryker Infantry Vehicle.  The Stryker is an armor personnel carrier-infantry fighting vehicle.

The Stryker Brigade fills the operational gaps between the Army's light forces and the heavy forces fielded with Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, according to the brigade's website.