American and Italian authorities are investigating the death of a 19-year-old soldier who recently joined the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
Pvt. Michael Jacob Cumpston of Tuolumne City, Calif., died about 2 a.m. Saturday in Florence after falling from a building, said Maj. Matthew Yandura, a brigade spokesman.
Cumpston had joined Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in November and had not deployed with the unit during its recent yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, Yandura said. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the chapel on Caserma Ederle in Vicenza.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Pvt. Cumpston’s family,” Col. Kyle Lear, the acting brigade commander, said in a prepared statement. “Our Brigade is here for them 24-7.”
Cumpston was one of a group of soldiers visiting Florence -– a little more than two hours from their base in Vicenza -– last weekend. Yandura said it’s not clear whether he was alone when he died.
Italian medical personnel responded to the scene, but were unable to keep him alive.
Reports by Il Giornale di Vicenza and the ANSA news service said that Cumpston was believed to be engaged in an extreme sport in which participants jump from rooftop to rooftop. Neither cited a source.
Yandura characterized the reports as “speculation” and said the Army would provide more details about the circumstances surrounding Cumpston’s death when the investigation was complete.