On Thursday, a combat engineer, Sgt. Renardo Deshun Dukes, 26, of Pachuta, Mississippi, was killed in a training incident on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Army authorities are investigating the combat engineer’s death and the Army has not released many details about exactly how Dukes died.
The Army released news about Dukes’ death on the island of Oahu on Friday, according to FOX News. Dukes was among approximately 4,000 soldiers who were taking part in the Lightning Forge training exercise on the islands of Hawaii and Oahu.
In advance of the Lightning Forge training exercise, the Army issued warnings to the public. The Army said that it would be a training exercise done on a large-scale, using “blank ammunition and explosive simulators.”
During the Lightning Forge training exercise, Dukes was stationed at Schofield Barracks in central Oahu, in the Kahuku area, and was “assigned to the 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.” The combat engineer first enlisted in the Army in August 2010. Before he moved to Schofield Barracks in December 2014, FOX News reported that he had “served in Germany and Colorado.”
In both 2011 and 2013, Dukes was “deployed to Afghanistan.” Hawaii News Now reported that Dukes had served 20 months. Hawaii Gov. David Ige expressed his condolences to Duke’s family and the soldiers who had served alongside him.
Dukes’ family and friends remembered the sergeant who died on the island of Oahu “as a devoted son and soldier.” His family mentioned that Sergeant Dukes had died due to being hit by a vehicle while he “was carrying heavy equipment.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that one of Sergeant Dukes’ friends, Jeremiah York, remembered him as a person who was a funny guy and a good mentor that knew how to get people motivated and keep them going. York had served with Sergeant Dukes, both in Colorado and in Afghanistan, when they were sent there in 2013.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Dukes’ mother, Renne, talked about how “smart and intelligent” her son had been, and mentioned that he had been going to come home to Mississippi at Christmas to see her, after an absence of almost two years. She said he had told her, “Mama, I’m coming home for your birthday.”
On Thursday, combat engineer Sgt. Renardo Deshun Dukes died in an accident in the island of Oahu, Hawaii, during the Lightning Forge training exercise. The Army has not released many details about his death, but Dukes’ family said he died when he was struck by a vehicle while he was carrying heavy equipment.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy U.S. Army