UPDATE(April 18, 2019, 5:15 p.m.)
West Virginia National Guard officials announced Thursday afternoon that Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Sheperty, 36, was the soldier who died in a parachuting accident Wednesday in Virginia.
Sheperty was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), which is based in Kingwood, officials said.
Sheperty was a member of the Green Berets and served as a Senior Weapons Sergeant. He joined the West Virginia Army National Guard in 2010. Prior, he served with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. He enlisted into the United States military in 2002 and served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon, and NATO medal among numerous other awards and decorations. He was a resident of Baltimore City, Md. and was a native Virginian, according to a news release from the WV National Guard.
An investigation to determine the cause of the accident is ongoing, officials said.
Top West Virginia elected and National Guard officials issued statements about Sheperty:
Gov. Jim Justice:
“This is an extremely sad day for West Virginia. We owe everything we have to the men and women who step up and make sacrifices to protect our country’s freedom. Cathy and I are praying for Nick’s family and the entire National Guard family, and we ask all West Virginians to join with us. We will do everything we can to provide support to his family and will never forget his service and sacrifice to this great State and our Nation.”
Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard:
“On behalf of the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard, I extend my deepest condolences to Nick’s family, friends and those who served with him. The loss of such an exceptional Soldier and true West Virginia hero will be felt throughout our entire organization. It’s my hope that people understand, each and every day, there are men and women in the armed forces who are conducting both operations and training in support of the defense of our Nation in a dangerous environment. Not enough people are paying attention while our Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors are putting their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. Let us never forget the life and legacy of Sgt. 1st Class Nick Sheperty, the sacrifice he made or the sacrifice his family will endure from this tragic incident.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin:
“Gayle and I are terribly saddened to hear of the passing of Sgt. 1st Class Sheperty. We know that our National Guard puts their lives on the line daily to protect us, and we are forever grateful for their sacrifice. West Virginia and the United States lost a brave man whose dedicated service to this country will never be forgotten. We join all West Virginians in praying for his family and friends in the wake of this awful tragedy.”
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito:
“I was heartbroken to hear this news. This is a solemn reminder of the incredible sacrifice West Virginia service families–and service families across the country–make. This solider and his family will be in my prayers, and my deepest condolences go to all of his loved ones.”
ORIGINAL STORY(April 17, 2019 4:41 p.m.)
A West Virginia Army National Guard Soldier died during a training exercise in Suffolk, Va., Wednesday, according to National Guard officials.
The name and unit of the soldier is being withheld until notification of the next of kin has taken place, officials said.
Police, fire and rescue crews were called to Suffolk Executive Airport around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, according to Suffolk officials.
Fire & rescue workers treated the male victim, but he was pronounced dead on the scene, officials said.
West Virginia National Guard will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon, to release more information, officials said.
An investigation to determine the cause of the accident is being conducted, according to a National Guard news release.
Tuesday, National Guard officials announced an agreement with West Virginia University to use WVU property in Preston County as a drop zone.