Fort Bliss Soldier Dies in Non-Combat Incident in Iraq

Army Spc. Avadon Chavez. (Facebook)
Army Spc. Avadon Chavez. (Facebook)

A 20-year-old soldier with the 1st Armored Division has died in Iraq in a "non-combat incident," the Defense Department announced Friday.

In a release, the DoD identified the soldier as Spc. Avadon A. Chaves, 20, of Turlock, Calif. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, of the 1st Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Chaves died Dec. 20 at al-Asad in Iraq's Anbar province, about 100 miles west of Baghdad, while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve in support of the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The DoD said the non-combat incident is under investigation.

Since 2011, at least 47 military personnel have died in Iraq and Syria in Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the Defense Department. Of those deaths, 13 were in combat and the rest were in non-hostile incidents. In addition, at least 58 were wounded.

According to his Facebook page, Chavez attended Pitman High School in Turlock and had recently been married.

In a statement, California Gov. Jerry Brown said Chaves "bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation," adding that the people of California "extend condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time."

Chaves' death comes after Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi declared earlier this month that Iraq has been liberated from ISIS and U.S. President Donald Trump said the terror group is on the verge of being destroyed in Iraq and Syria.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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