US paratrooper dies in Italy

US paratrooper dies in Italy
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A U.S. paratrooper was found dead earlier this week in his residence in Vicenza, Italy, the Army revealed on Friday.

Spc. Ryan James, 20, of Baytown, Texas, was found unresponsive on Sept. 7 in his barracks, according to a service statement.

James, who joined the Army in December 2019, had been assigned to Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in August 2020.

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No other details were given about the incident, which is currently under investigation. 

“Spc. Ryan James was an intensely passionate and driven paratrooper who served his country admirably,” Lt. Col. Kevin Ward, commander of the 2-503 PIR, said in the statement. “His strength of character, work ethic and remarkable maturity consistently built up those around him.”

Ward recalled that during James’s first week in the battalion, he placed a bet that he would don a Ranger Tab within his first two years in the unit and that “he was well on his way to achieving that goal” before he died.

“From his consistent, stellar performance as an infantryman to earning the highest physical fitness score in his platoon, he never settled for the minimum, but always pushed himself to excel. In everything he did, he was relentlessly committed to those with whom he served. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten,” he said.