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A 21-year-old US Army paratrooper from New York State died while jumping from a helicopter during a training exercise, officials said Wednesday.
Spc. Abigail Jenks, of Gansevoort, was doing a static-line jump from a UH-60 Blackhawk chopper at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Monday, when she was fatally injured, military officials said.
“She was a positive, happy person. She’s always seeing the good side of things,” her mother, Mary Jenks, told CBS6. “She had an impact on so many people in her life.”
Jenks enlisted in October of 2018 and was assigned to Fort Bragg as a paratrooper in June 2019, after advanced training at bases in Oklahoma and Georgia. She was a member of the famed 82nd Airborne Division.
Her aunt told the Times-Union that Jenks had been engaged to be married next year, and that her death has left the family and her fiancé “in pieces.”
“When her grandmother told me, I just couldn’t stop screaming,” Diana Jenks Klementowski said. “We all loved her so very much. It’s just a terrible, terrible loss.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday ordered all flags on State buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Jenks.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest sympathy to Spc. Abigail Jenks’ family and loved ones,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are devastated by her loss and join her fellow soldiers, family and friends in honoring her service to our country.”
A graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and the oldest of four siblings, Jenks was remembered as hard-working and creative.
“Abby was amazing,” her aunt said. “She had a lot of integrity, decency and talent. She was so caring and never disrespectful. I never heard anyone say anything bad about her. It’s not fair.”
Her battery commander, Army Capt. Brian Norman, praised Jenks as “a creative, hardworking, and confident Paratrooper.”
“Her love for art, animals, and her friends reverberated wherever she worked, [and] her compassion for fellow paratroopers will be truly missed,” Norman said in a statement.
Army officials said Jenks’ death is under investigation.
She will posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
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