Soldier Dies in Non-Combat Incident During Kosovo Deployment

A private first class in the Oregon National Guard died July 4 as the result of a non-combat incident while deployed to Kosovo, officials announced Monday evening.

Pfc. Alexander Blake Klass, 20, from Willamina, Oregon, was deployed to Camp Novo Selo and was supporting Operation Joint Guardian, the U.S. Army's ongoing sustainment mission in Kosovo.

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He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, out of Springfield, Oregon. An Oregon Guard spokesman, Maj. Stephen Bomar, told that Klass was an infantryman.

He entered the military Jan. 17, 2019, and mobilized to Kosovo in January. He was set to return in November, Bomar said.

“This is a tragic situation and our primary focus is supporting the family during this difficult time," Brig. Gen. William J. Prendergast IV, Land Component Command Commander, Oregon Army National Guard, said in a statement.

No additional details were immediately available about the incident that led to his death. Officials are investigating, according to the release.

A contingent of 600-700 U.S. troops is deployed to Kosovo at any given time. The U.S. military first entered Kosovo in 1999 amid the Kosovo war. U.S. forces now support the NATO-led Kosovo Force, which is designed to serve a peacekeeping mission until Kosovo's own security force can support itself.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck

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