Tragic accident causes Ft. Sill soldier's death

Lawton_A deadly accident at Lawton's Fort Sill has caused the death of a nineteen year old soldier in his sixth week of basic training.  Private Daniel Patrick Fisher was from Bassett, Virginia.  Thursday, he was with his unit training on a machine gun when the weapon discharged, striking Private Fisher.  He was rushed to the Troop Medical Clinic and then to Comanche County Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:50pm.

According to Army Officials, the weapon that killed Private Fisher was not supposed to be loaded.  The soldiers were doing a familiarization exercise - not a live fire event - but, since the weapon discharged, the gun had to have been loaded.  It's being called a "training related incident".  Post Commander Major General Pete Vangjel says they have already started the investigation into the death of the young private.

"My intent with this process is to first, determine the facts. Second, identify the root cause of the tragedy and of course thirdly, to take action to prevent such a tragedy from happening again," said Vangiel.

Thursday afternoon - around 3pm - Fisher was with his battery at the Engagement Skills Trainer on the East Range performing heavy weapons familiarization - the loading and unloading of the M-2 Machine Gun.  That's when the weapon discharged, claiming the life of Private Fisher.

Colonel Annie Baker, Commander of the 434th Field Artillery Brigade, conducts the Basic Training at Fort Sill - she stated her sorrow over the tragic death.  "I too would like to express my sincere condolences and sympathy to Private Fisher's family, on behalf of our soldiers and the cadre of the 434th Field Artillery Brigade," she said.

Colonel Baker has issued a "Safety Stand Down" - there will be no training at Fort Sill until they find out what went wrong.  She says they have to do this "in order to fully focus on established training, standards, and procedures".  To make sure this never happens again.

General Vangjel says Fort Sill has a sense of responsibility to Private Fisher's Family.  "We appreciate Daniel's service, and we applaud his commitment to answer his country's call to serve."

Private Fisher has left behind a wife and the Army is providing resources to help support his family.  Daniel Patrick Fisher had only three weeks of Basic Training remaining.  He and his fellow recruits were learning about camaraderie - trusting one another.