Columbia, SC

Teen National Guard Soldier Dies During Training Exercise

Kyle Schepperley
1st Battalion 34th Regiment Facebook Page

A 17-year-old National Guard trainee from Pennsylvania collapsed during a training exercise and subsequently passed away days later. 

Pvt. Alyssa Cahoon passed away on August 25, 5 days after collapsing during a morning training exercise on August 20th. According to the 1st Battalion 34th Regiment Facebook page, Cahoon passed away with her family by her bedside. 

The soldier's family posted on social media that they have learned from doctors that Alyssa had a very rare heart abnormality. Supposedly, her unknown condition caused her heart to stop without any warning, which later led to her death. Alyssa’s death is still currently under investigation. 

Pvt. Alyssa Cahoon has an identical twin sister Brianna, who also serves in the National Guard. The two women gained local attention earlier this year when they both signed up for the state’s National Guard, and would be going through basic training together. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Alyssa Cahoon was serving as squad leader when the sisters were training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC. 

Doctors have discovered that Alyssa’s twin sister Brianna has the same “heart abnormality.” According to a Facebook post by Alyssa and Brianna’s mother Susan, “Her sacrifice will save Brianna...who has the same heart abnormality but will now receive an internal defibrillator.” 

An official with the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, said they are providing comfort and assistance to anyone connected to Cahoon or the situation. 

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