A Louisiana National Guard soldier who was deployed in Syria died this week, the Defense Department announced Thursday.
First Sgt. Casey Hart, 42, of Baton Rouge, died Tuesday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, after a noncombat-related incident at Al-Tanf Garrison, Syria, on May 9.
The specifics surrounding the incident are still under investigation, according to a statement from the Pentagon. WAFB 9, a Baton Rouge news outlet, reported that Hart went into cardiac arrest while running last month.
Hart, a mortarman, enlisted in the Army in July 1997. He joined the Louisiana National Guard in May 2000 and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, in Abbeville, where he served until his death, according to a Guard spokesperson.
He was also a 14-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
"As a dedicated member of the United States Army National Guard, he not only served our community, but he served our country honorably for many years," Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said in a statement. "[He] passed away yesterday due to an illness while on deployment with the National Guard."
Hart's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Achievement Medal with two subsequent awards.
Hart is survived by his wife and daughter, according to Paul.
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.