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PLR 24-057 – Off-Duty Sports, Recreation and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

A 26-year-old Staff Sergeant assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, died in an off-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishap in Cascade Ridge, Washington, at local. The Soldier was hiking and fell 400 feet off a cliff. It was reported the Soldier lost contact with people that knew he would be hiking. Search-and-rescue personnel tracked the Soldier's location via GPS and discovered his body.

Since FY19, the Army has lost an average of 12 Soldiers a year to off-duty sports, recreation and physical training mishaps. This mishap was the second off-duty sports, recreation and physical training fatality of FY24 and the same number of fatalities as this time last year.

Safety tip

Hiking Safety

  • Take your time and watch your step – Be careful and watch where you are walking, especially on slippery areas or near cliffs. Stick to dry paths and solid rock areas with good footing.
  • Don’t get too distracted – Pay attention when taking photos, videos or just looking at the scenery. Watch your step. There will often be uneven ground, holes, bumps on rocks and stumps near the cliff’s edge. Tripping can cause a fall as easily as slipping.
  • Only use the designated paths – Take notice of any warning signs and fences in place, be responsible and don’t take any unnecessary risks.
  • Make sure that you are properly equipped for walking along paths – Remember to wear sturdy shoes or boots and check the weather forecast. Carry a fully charged mobile phone and tell someone where you are going and what time you will be home.
  • Do not attempt to climb up or down cliffs – Unless you are properly equipped and trained to do so, do not attempt to climb cliffs as a shortcut back to the top.
  • Stay away from the bottom of cliffs – When standing at the bottom of a cliff, we always advise people that they should not stand less than the height of the cliff away. That means that if the cliff is 25 meters high, don’t go closer than 25 meters toward it.



  • 29 May 2024
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 129
  • Comments: 0