Army Discloses That National Guard Soldier Died in Truck Collision as Service Grapples with Driving Fatalities


A junior enlisted National Guard soldier died when the military truck she was driving rear-ended another in October, according to new details the Army released Monday. 

On Oct. 22 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, four soldiers were driving two M1120 Load Handling System vehicles on a tank trail to pick up ammunition packing waste at a firing range. The trailing truck rear-ended the lead vehicle. The first truck’s flat rack crushed the driver’s side of the second vehicle’s cab. 

Spc. Mackenzie Shay, 20, was driving that second vehicle. She was unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. The other three soldiers were evaluated and released from the hospital. Shay enlisted into the National Guard when she was 17 years old and served with G Company, 128th Brigade Support Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, as a petroleum supply specialist. 

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The news comes as the Army continues to grapple with tactical vehicle deaths within its ranks. Brig. Gen. Andrew Hilmes, who at the time was the director of Army safety, told last year the driving accidents are the “number one killer of soldiers.” 

Army leadership has placed some of the blame on units overlooking safety when new commanders take over, with proper precautions sometimes falling through the cracks during hectic transitions. Other issues Army officials have noted include a steep decline in young soldiers having previous driving experiences and driver’s licenses. 

The service has seen a drop in noncombat fatalities, which include training mishaps and vehicle incidents, with 14 on-duty deaths in fiscal 2022, which ended Sept. 30, compared to 20 soldiers dying the previous year. 

Those on-duty deaths include four vehicle incidents, a lightning strike, two tree falls and a bear attack, according to data from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.  

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Specialist Mackenzie Shay’s family, friends and colleagues after this tragic accident,” Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard, said in a statement. “Our priority right now is taking care of the family and soldiers, ensuring they have all the resources they need during this critical time.”

— Steve Beynon can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

Related:  The Top Killer of Soldiers, Army Vehicle Deaths Are Tied to Poor Training, Though Numbers Down

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