New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered that all state flags be flown at half-mast on Wednesday to honor United States Army specialist Kevin Joniel Rodriguez, who was killed during a training exercise two weeks ago.
The 22-year old Rodriguez, a native of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, was accidently killed while training at Fort Campbell, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, on the second anniversary of the day he enlisted in the military.
The shooting is under investigation but authorities have said they do not suspect foul play.
“Specialist Rodriguez was a loving son and brother, whose memory lives in the hearts of his family, friends and fellow soldiers,” Christie said in a statement, according to The Record of North Jersey. “Specialist Rodriguez’s heroism, dedication, and commitment to service and country make it appropriate and fitting for the state of New Jersey to remember him, to mark his passing and to honor his memory.”
The U.S. flag and state flag of New Jersey will be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies.
Rodriguez was a “dedicated and decorated soldier.” He earned more than half a dozen badges, including Army Commendation Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Christie added that the Paterson, N.J.-native was a “brave and loyal American hero.”
Rodriguez enlisted in the Army on Oct. 8, 2013 and served as an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division, Company A, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.