Fort Bliss soldier Oakley, praised for heroism during El Paso shooting, is found dead on base

By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 10, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas – The Fort Bliss soldier praised by his commanders and President Donald Trump for his heroism during a mass shooting in an El Paso Walmart was found dead Wednesday in his quarters at the west Texas Army base, service officials confirmed Friday.

Special agents of Army Criminal Investigation Command are investigating the death of Pvt. Glendon Oakley, 23, though foul play is not suspected, according to Fort Bliss officials.

Oakley, who grew up in an Army family and joined in October 2017, served as an automated supply logistical specialist assigned to 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, and was a native of Killeen, Texas.

On Aug. 3, Oakley was shopping at a Foot Locker in El Paso’s Cielo Vista Mall when a man opened fire in a nearby Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more. The soldier carried children out of the mall to the safety of police officers outside.

He also described the events of that day as the worst experience of his life.

During a visit to El Paso just days after the shooting, Trump met with Oakley alongside other affected by the incident.

Oakley’s leadership awarded him the Army Commendation Medal for his actions that day, but just two months later, the soldier was arrested near his hometown of Killeen on desertion charges and returned to Fort Bliss. Prior to the arrest, Oakley had attained the rank of private first class.

Aside from the Army Commendation Medal, Oakley deployed to Kuwait and also earned the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Rifle Marksmanship Badge.

Fort Bliss officials declined to release further information about Oakley’s death, because of the ongoing investigation.

Twitter: @Rose_Lori