Spc. Nicholas C. Panipinto, 20, of Bradenton, Fla., died on Wednesday after the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was in rolled over during training operations in South Korea on Wednesday. At least two more soldiers were injured in the accident.
The vehicle reportedly had five soldiers riding inside, all of whom were taken to the hospital after the incident. Two of the soldiers were treated for non-life threatening injuries and two others were seen by medical staff as a “precautionary measure,” according to Eighth Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ellis Gales.
Nicholas Panipinto was an infantryman deployed to South Korea from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood.
“Nicholas was a dedicated and essential member of the Ghost Battalion and Greywolf Brigade,” Brigade commander Col. Kevin Capra said. “We are all deeply saddened by the loss and will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Although tensions with North Korea have not dominated the news cycle as of late, they are once again on the rise as denuclearization talks between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have, for months now, stalled. North Korea has ramped up weapons tests, including short range missiles, but has not undertaken another ICBM test since initial talks with President Trump first began. In return, the United States and South Korea have suspended large scale military exercises in the vicinity of the border. Despite an end to large war games, troops continue to train in the region.
A new round of talks is expected to open up later this month, or potentially sometime in December, according to sources in South Korea. North Korea has issued warnings through its state-run media indicating that progress must be made before the close of the year, or the “close personal relations” between Trump and Kim will come to an end.
The United States maintains a presence of around 28,500 troops in South Korea, bolstering the South Korean defense forces against the possibility of North Korean incursion.