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Alabama Army Reserve soldier missing after training exercise

By IVANA HRYNKIW | Alabama Media Group, Birmingham | Published: June 22, 2018

JACKSONVILLE. Fla. (Tribune News Service) — A man from the Alabama Army Reserve is missing after a training exercise in Florida.

Calyn McLemore was attending a training course at Camp Blanding when he set out on a land navigation exercise on Wednesday, according to Keith Smith from the Clay County Sheriff's Office. He has not been seen since approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday.

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The exercise involved each of the 75 Reserve soldiers individually reaching three to four rally points designated on their maps in the woods surrounding Camp Blanding, before coming back to a meeting location.

Friday morning, officials were searching aerially and on the ground for McLemore, and Smith said searchers were "still remaining positive." Officials found several of McLemore's items, including his map and navigation tool, and are currently searching an 1000-acre area surrounding where those items were found.

Smith said the extreme heat and "extremely tough conditions" could have been a factor in McLemore's disappearance, especially if the solider "pushed himself to finish" the course and was dehydrated. Smith said the solider may be wounded and wandered off course. Officials do not believe he went AWOL or there is anything suspicious about the situation.

Some parts of the heavily wooded area have swamps and marshes up to waist or chest deep, Smith said. Officials have also spotted dangerous wildlife in the area, including water moccasins.

Several agencies are assisting the sheriff's office in the search, including Clay County Emergency Management, Florida Highway Patrol, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Pasco County Emergency Management, Baker County Sheriff's Office, Marion County Sheriff's Office, St. John's County Sheriff's Urban Search and Rescue Team, US Customs and Border, Camp Blanding Military personnel, and multiple air units.

Smith said McLemore's family has been notified.

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