National Guard soldier faints in training and dies days later

National Guard soldier Alyssa Cahoon faints in training and dies days later
National Guard soldier Alyssa Cahoon faints in training and dies days later

Alyssa Cahoon died after collapsing during routine training due to a rare heart defect, according to her family, allowing her twin sister to save her life due to having the same condition.

Alyssa Cahoon, a 17-year-old Pennsylvania National Guard soldier, died several days after collapsing during training in South Carolina.

Cahoon died Thursday with his family around him, the 1st Battalion, 34th Regiment, a basic combat training battalion at Fort Jackson, said on its Facebook page Friday.

Officials at the base in South Carolina said he collapsed during physical training on Aug. 20 , when he was training with his twin sister, Brianna Cahoon, media reported.

Private Alyssa Cahoon, from Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania, garnered attention earlier this year after joining the Pennsylvania National Guard along with her identical twin sister, Brianna. Both were assigned to basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, where she served as a squad leader.

Cahoon was hospitalized after she suddenly collapsed during morning exercise on August 20, just days before completing nine weeks of training. National Guard officials confirmed that she had died at an off-base hospital five days later, but did not release further details.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and teammates of the deceased soldier,” the Fort Jackson brigade commander said. General Patrick R. Michaelis.

A statement released by family members on Sunday said doctors had determined the teenager had suffered from a rare “heart defect,” a condition shared by her twin.

“Your sacrifice will save Brianna... who has the same heart defect but will now receive an internal defibrillator,” Susan Cahoon, the twins' mother, wrote on her Facebook page.

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