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Army is investigating death of Massachusetts soldier at Georgia base

Sgt. Rachel Reve McKay
Sgt. Rachel Reve McKay

The US Army is investigating the recent death on a Georgia military base of a 23-year-old soldier from Marblehead, according to her obituary.

The obituary for Army Sergeant Rachel Reve McKay, who died last week, was posted to the website of the Eustis and Cornell funeral home in Marblehead, where a wake for McKay will be held Wednesday evening.

According to the obituary, McKay “passed away unexpectedly on April 8, 2019 at the United States Army’s Fort Gordon located in Augusta, GA. Rachel’s death remains under investigation by the United States Army.”

A Fort Gordon spokesman said via e-mail Tuesday that McKay’s death “is presently an ‘Undetermined Manner of Death’ since it is presently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). We do expect information when it becomes available,” though it’s uncertain when that will be.

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McKay graduated from William Smith College last year with a political science degree and played on the school’s hockey and golf teams, her obituary said.

“Rachel had recently completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, in Columbia, SC, graduating second in her Company within the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment,” the obituary said. “Upon graduation from Basic Combat Training, Rachel was assigned to Fort Benning near Columbus, GA. to attend the United States Army’s Officer Candidate School.”

The obituary described McKay as “a proud, fit, respected and tireless soldier, and a sought after ‘battle buddy’ by her fellow officer candidates in the highly selective program. She was dedicated to live by and embody the Army’s core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.”

She was also devoted to friends and family.

“Rachel was best at being a sister, daughter and friend,” the notice said. “She was a genuine and caring person with extra doses of empathy and admiration for the underdog, and was deeply rooted with a sense of fairness and selflessness. She will be missed more than words can express by the many people she touched during her far too short time with them.”

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The obit said McKay’s loved ones are “shattered with her having been taken from them too soon, and there will forever be an emptiness in their hearts for Rachel. But they will persevere and remember the light, happiness and joy that Rachel brought into their lives with her humor, friendship, genuineness and candor.”

Fort Gordon, where McKay was stationed, bills itself on its website as the “Home of the Cyber Center of Excellence: ‘Where Tradition Meets the Future.’ ”

Francisco Urena, the veterans’ services secretary in Massachusetts, offered condolences to McKay’s family in a tweet Monday.

“Welcome Home US Army Sergeant Rachel McKay,” Urena tweeted. “My sincerest condolences to the McKay family; Massachusetts’ most recent #GoldStarFamily.”

He said Tuesday in a follow-up tweet, “Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered United States & Commonwealth flags lowered to half staff on Thursday, April 18th in honor of @USArmy SGT Rachel R. McKay of Marblehead, Massachusetts.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.