Soldier Dies In First Week Of Grueling Ranger Camp Training At Fort Benning

This past week a 21-year-old Army officer by the name of Lt. Michael R. Parros fell ill on his first day at a grueling Ranger School in Georgia.

The soldier then died Wednesday, only two days after having become sick during training at Fort Benning. According to CBS News, an Army news release stated that the doctors treating Parros found he was ill with hyponatremia, which is a sickness caused by “unusually low sodium levels in the blood that can result from drinking too much water.”

A spokesperson for Fort Benning, John Tongret, shared that there were many questions still left to be answered by this surprising passing of Parros.

“Typically it’s over-hydration, but we don’t really know what happened in this case,” John Tongret, a Fort Benning spokesman, said Thursday.

As the news network shares, the course is a two-month Ranger School that tests the soldiers on their ability to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress while on combat missions and operations. The most recent class reportedly began on an extremely hot Monday, and Fort Benning, located outside of Columbus, saw temperatures steadily around 95 degrees and hit highs of 103 degrees.

In the case of Parros’ activities on the day prior to him falling ill, the Walnut Creek, California native had reportedly finished a training session in hand-to-hand combat and headed to dinner before becoming sick on Monday evening. Tongret shares that the Army is investigating the mysterious death, which is standard practice if a soldier passes.

The Army indicates that Parros recently graduated from the U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point in May, where he was an active participant in football, soccer, and hockey. Lt. Col. Matthew Weber, who oversees the Infantry Basic Office Leadership Course, gave a statement, noting his sorrow over the loss.

“This is a tragic loss. While 2nd Lt. Parros was only with us for a short time, he showed so much potential and was the epitome of the kind of soldier you want to serve with.”

The news outlet relays the details involved in the camp that lasts a full two months and involves soldiers willingly subjecting themselves to a torturous and grueling eight weeks of intense training.

“To become a U.S. Army Ranger, the country’s finest soldiers willingly submit themselves to what many would consider a form of torture for just over two months. A big part of the strenuous physical test is just staying awake. They run combat missions 20 hours a day while consuming just enough calories to keep from passing out; a grueling test of endurance that forces Ranger School students to go to extremes just to keep their eyes open. Some even resort to putting tabasco sauce in their eyes.”

Ranger School has been called the toughest training and combat course in the world. By the end of the two months, an average of 75 percent of the soldiers who began will have dropped out for reasons of fatigue, injury or failure. In August of 2015, two women and 94 men completed their group’s 62-day course that began with 19 women and 380 men.

2 Women to Graduate Elite US Army Combat Training #fort-benning #ranger-school

Tasks involved in completing the torturous course include going “on long marches and patrols carrying rifles, rucksacks and other gear, weighing upwards of 100 pounds, as well as negotiating shallow, muddy obstacles, called the “worm pit,” where they crawl underneath knee-high barbed wire several times, on both their backs and their stomachs.”

As reported, the primary intention of the course is to learn to engage in close combat, direct fire battle, and hand-to-hand combat. In addition, soldiers are expected to climb and overcome any fear of heights, and practice parachute jumps and extractions.

[Photo by Barry Williams/Getty Images]