06/24/14 — Soldier dies during training

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Soldier dies during training

By Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on June 24, 2014 1:46 PM

A former Rosewood High and Wayne Community College student has been killed during Army training exercises in Southern California.

The Army reported Sunday that Pfc. Andrew Sass, 23, was killed at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, about 150 miles east of Bakersfield.

Lt. Col Joe Sowers says Sass died Saturday. He has declined to disclose details, saying the incident was still under investigation.

The soldier was from Fremont and assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle. Sass was on a monthlong training mission at Fort Irwin.

Sass enlisted in May 2013 and had not served overseas.

He was married and had a son.

Greg Lamm, counselor at Rosewood High, confirmed that Sass graduated from the school in 2009.

Even though that's been a few years, he said when the news trickled out about the accident involving a former student, the compassion was evident.

"It happened Friday and Saturday by 11 o'clock, I already had 10 text messages from people in the community and probably four phone calls from people concerned and wanting to know if they could do anything," he said. "That just shows how closely the community is knit. It was just amazing.

"I had one teacher that started, calling out of concern. From there it just went. There were parents and teachers calling me."

Lamm remembered Sass as a good student.

"He took everything very seriously and made sure that he did things right," he said. "He was part of the news program they ran here at the school, very detail-oriented."

After high school, Sass continued his education at Wayne Community College before going into the military, Lamm said, much like his older sibling.

"His brother, David, went into the military," he said. "And his sister, Rebekah, just graduated this year."

Bill Edmundson coached Sass on the Rosewood wrestling team.

"Andrew wrestled for me for all four years in high school. He was a great student in the classroom and a natural leader on the mat," Edmundson said. "It's tough for me to talk about him in the past tense, because it's just a shock. It's a real tragedy.

"He was always so physically and mentally tough, and that kind of person lends itself to being in the military because he just had all the traits you would want in someone to defend this country. He was someone everyone looked up to on and off the mat."