Beaufort News

Officials: US Army soldier from South Carolina dies in Iraq

Christopher Castaneda
Christopher Castaneda

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A soldier from Fripp Island has died during a noncombat incident at a military facility in Iraq, the U.S. Army reported.

A spokeswoman for the Army said 19-year-old Pvt. Christopher Castaneda died Thursday at the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq.

Spokeswoman Kathleen Young said in a statement Friday that Castaneda died in a "noncombat related incident," but she provided no further details. The Army did not immediately respond to a request for additional information from The Associated Press.

Officials said Castaneda was an infantryman who joined the Army in January. He was stationed at Fort Drum before his troop deployed to Iraq in August, they said.

The air base in Iraq is a joint operation of the Iraqi Armed Forces and the United States military. There, Operation Inherent Resolve is targeting Islamic State terrorists through campaigns in the region.

The Army said Castaneda was posthumously awarded the Army Achievement Medal. His other awards include the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Castaneda is survived by his mother and grandfather.