Photo: Fort Jackson Public Affairs

A 19-year-old Army private who died during basic training earlier this month was posthumously promoted to private first class, just before friends and family gathered for a memorial service to honor his life on Jan. 16.

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A 19-year-old Minnesota Army National Guard soldier died Wednesday during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

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U.S. Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Dec. 6, 2006. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill, according to an officials with the base.

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(U.S. Army/Sgt. Ken Scar))

More than 16 percent of the drinking water wells tested near Fort Jackson during the past six years have shown contamination from a toxic chemical found in hand grenades used at the military installation to train soldiers, according to recently released federal data.

In some cases, the pollution levels are high enough to exceed federal safety advisories for RDX, a chemical that can cause seizures and cancer in people from long-term exposure. In others, RDX in private wells has fallen within safe drinking water limits, Army officials and state regulators reported this week.

But the finding of any RDX, short for royal demolition explosive, is a concern.

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U.S. Army photo / Robert Timmons.

The Army is moving forward with changes to basic training slated to begin in October, despite the recent arrest of the commander in charge of implementing the new program of instruction.

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Army photo / Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton.

For the first time in three years, Army recruits will have to pass a marksmanship test  during basic training using only the backup iron sights for the M16 rifles and M4 carbines, officials said.

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