CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia Army National Guard Soldier assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Kingwood, W.Va., was fatally injured during a training exercise in Suffolk, Virginia, April 17, 2019.
Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Sheperty, 36, suffered fatal injuries while involved in an airborne operations training exercise at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead on the scene by local emergency services personnel.
“This is an extremely sad day for West Virginia. We owe everything we have to the men and women who step up and make sacrifices to protect our country’s freedom. Cathy and I are praying for Nick’s family and the entire National Guard family, and we ask all West Virginians to join with us,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “We will do everything we can to provide support to his family and will never forget his service and sacrifice to this great State and our Nation.”
“On behalf of the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard, I extend my deepest condolences to Nick’s family, friends and those who served with him. The loss of such an exceptional Soldier and true West Virginia hero will be felt throughout our entire organization,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard. “It’s my hope that people understand, each and every day, there are men and women in the armed forces who are conducting both operations and training in support of the defense of our Nation in a dangerous environment. Not enough people are paying attention while our Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors are putting their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. Let us never forget the life and legacy of Sgt. 1st Class Nick Sheperty, the sacrifice he made or the sacrifice his family will endure from this tragic incident.”
Sgt. 1st Class Sheperty was a member of the elite Green Berets and served as a Senior Weapons Sergeant with the 2/19th SFG (Airborne). He joined the West Virginia Army National Guard in 2010. Prior to his service with the West Virginia National Guard, he served with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. He enlisted into the United States military in 2002 and served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon, and NATO medal among numerous other awards and decorations. He was a resident of Baltimore City, Maryland, and native Virginian.
"I was heartbroken to hear this news. This is a solemn reminder of the incredible sacrifice West Virginia service families--and service families across the country--make. This solider and his family will be in my prayers, and my deepest condolences go to all of his loved ones," said Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
"Gayle and I are terribly saddened to hear of the passing of Sgt. 1st Class Sheperty. We know that our National Guard puts their lives on the line daily to protect us, and we are forever grateful for their sacrifice. West Virginia and the United States lost a brave man whose dedicated service to this country will never be forgotten. We join all West Virginians in praying for his family and friends in the wake of this awful tragedy," stated Senator Joe Manchin III.
An investigation to determine the cause of the accident is ongoing.