Missouri National Guard Staff Sgt. Robert J. Traxel, 34, died on 1st July while performing his annual training duties in support of Beyond the Horizon Guatemala exercise.
Initial reports indicate Traxel died after he was struck in the head by a tree limb that fell due to wind generated by helicopter rotor blades during a training exercise. Traxel was providing public affairs support at the exercise.
“The family, friends and colleagues of Staff Sgt. Traxel are in our prayers, as we remember this brave Citizen-Soldier who served not only in the Guard, but also during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as both an active duty Soldier and Marine,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said.
Traxel was a public affairs broadcast specialist with the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, out of Jefferson City, Missouri. He joined the unit and the Missouri National Guard on April 19, after over seven years of prior service with the active Army and Marines.
In Guatemala, he was conducting annual training, providing broadcast journalism support to Beyond the Horizon Guatemala 2012, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-conducted joint military and humanitarian exercise.