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Utah National Guard soldier Paul Lincoln Olmstead
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Utah National Guard soldier dies in training exercises in Kentucky

Utah National Guard soldier, Staff Sgt. Paul Lincoln Olmstead, died Sept. 21, 2021 during a water training exercise at the Joe Swing Park Reservoir in Kentucky. Photo credit: Utah National Guard

DRAPER, Utah — A Utah National Guard soldier died Tuesday in training exercises at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Staff Sgt. Paul Lincoln Olmstead was performing a water training drill at Joe Swing Park Reservoir in Kentucky. During the training, Olmstead went underwater and failed to resurface. Olmstead had been assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group.

Search efforts began immediately

With assistance from three agencies from Kentucky and Tennessee, a search for the Utah National Guard soldier began immediately. However, his body wasn’t recovered until Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead by the emergency personnel at Fort Campbell.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Lincoln’s family, especially his wife and children, friends, and teammates,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, adjutant general, Utah National Guard in a press release. “While training accidents like this are rare, it is a reminder of the enormous sacrifices made by our service members and their families every day.”

He joined the Utah National Guard in 2016

Olmstead joined the Utah National Guard in February 2016. Since October 2019, he had served as Special Forces engineer sergeant.

“This is an absolute tragedy, especially when we lose someone as capable and promising as Lincoln. Sometimes we expect this sort of thing in combat, but not during training, which makes this difficult for the unit and especially the family,” said Col. Paul Peters, commander, 19th SFG in a press release. 

Olmstead is survived by his wife and two children. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

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