Alabama Reserve soldier who went missing during Florida training exercise is found dead
By ANNA BEAHM | Alabama Media Group | Published: June 23, 2018
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — A soldier from the Alabama Army Reserve who went missing during a training exercise in Florida has been found dead, according to the Clay County, Florida Sheriff's Office.
Specialist Calyn McLemore was found dead Friday night in a wooded area of Camp Blanding.
Officials with the sheriff's office said this is an "undetermined death investigation."
"The Clay County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all those agencies, media personnel and community members who supported us in this search," officials said in a Facebook post.
McLemore's death is still under investigation.
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.
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 found several of McLemore's items, including his map and navigation tool, officials said.
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 soldier 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 assisted 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.
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