An Army recruit just weeks from earning his ‘blue cord’ as an infantry soldier died during training last week at Fort Moore, Georgia, the Army said in a release.  

Pfc. Cesar Gonzalez, 21, from Chicago, Illinois, suffered a “medical emergency” on October 20, the Army said. Gonzalez was in the 19th of 22 weeks of initial training after joining the Army last May. Gonzalez was nearing graduation from the Army’s Infantry School where he was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade. 

Infantry soldiers receive a blue shoulder cord for wear on their formal uniforms when they graduate from infantry school. Family members often pin a soldier’s cord onto their uniform during graduation ceremonies.

Officials did not disclose the specific training Gonzalez was participating in or details of the “medical emergency.” Officials said only that Gonzalez received medical treatment on the scene and was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

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In paperwork Gonzalez filled out in joining the Army, officials said, Gonzalez wrote that he joined the Army to “challenge himself and support his family.”

Gonzalez completed the Future Soldier Preparatory Course in May at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, a new program aimed at recruits who fail to meet the Army’s initial requirements for enlistment, either in fitness, test scores or some other criteria. The course, which is relatively low-pressure compared to traditional boot camp, aids recruits to improved their discrepancies, after which they sign a full enlistment contract and report for traditional basic training.

Gonzalez was an Infantry-focused One Station Unit Training, a program in which recruits complete Basic and Advanced Individual Training at one base with the same peers. He was expected to graduate in a few weeks.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Private First Class Gonzalez’ family, friends, and fellow

teammates during this difficult time,” said Lt. Col. Michael Moore, commander of 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment. “He was an exceptional Soldier and dedicated friend to those around him.”

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