Soldier found deceased after search
July 18, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 18, 2013) -- A Fort Rucker warrant officer candidate was found deceased the morning of July 11 after having been missing since a routine land navigation training event on post the day prior.
Warrant Officer Candidate Darrell R. McNealy, 40, was a student going through the Warrant Officer Candidate School.
Fort Rucker officials said they were deeply saddened by the loss of this outstanding Soldier, and that their thoughts and prayers go out to the Family. A casualty assistance team is currently providing assistance to the Family.
McNealy started a three-hour land navigation course at about 6:45 a.m. July 10. When he did not report at the checkpoint, a search party was sent out. The search continued throughout the day using all assets available, including OH-58 and Apache helicopters to search by air until they were grounded by weather. A team of Soldiers, first responders, Coffee County Mounted Posse on horseback and EMS personnel continued the search by ground.
At about 7 p.m., the Houston County Sheriff's Office brought in bloodhounds that searched until 10 p.m. However, the search continued through the night. At 6:30 a.m. July 11, about 100 more Soldiers were added to the search team and that team found the missing Soldier deceased at about 7:50 a.m. July 11.
McNealy served as a platoon sergeant with 4-58th Airfield Operations Battalion at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, and was training here to become an air traffic and airspace manager. He held the rank of sergeant first class before entering WOCS.
After entering the Army in 2001, he served in multiple deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. McNealy previously served at Fort Rucker with B Co., 1-13th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade.
The U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, a tenant unit at Fort Rucker, has deployed a Centralized Accident Investigation team to lead the inquiry into the Soldier's death. The CAI team is comprised of experts in safety, maintenance, operations and training. The investigation report will be used within the Department of Defense for incident prevention purposes only.
Fort Rucker officials are also investigating the incident. The cause of death is currently unknown pending an autopsy; however, no foul play is expected.