CLEARFIELD — A Utah soldier supporting Operation Enduring Freedom died Wednesday at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, in a noncombat incident.
Army 1st Sgt. Tracy L. Stapley, 44, of Clearfield, died in the incident, according to the Department of Defense. Stapley was assigned to the 308th Medical Logistics Company in St. George that deployed overseas in the spring.
The Department of Defense said the incident is still under investigation.
Stapley was married and had a son who is at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Stapley's father, Elwin Stapley, said his son was a good athlete and student who served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina.
Elwin Stapley said he worried the first time his son deployed to Afghanistan, but this time was different.
"This time, I just never gave it a second thought," he said. "He wanted to serve his country."
Capt. Chad Nixon, public information officer for the 308th, said it's a tragedy any time a soldier dies, but it's especially hard when the country is celebrating Independence Day.
On Friday, Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statement expressing his condolences for Stapley's family.
"Jeanette and I join the people of Utah and express our heartfelt prayers and thoughts for the Stapley family as together we mourn the loss of 1st Sgt. Tracy Stapley, a beloved son, husband and father," Herbert said. "As the nation just celebrated our independence, may we always remember and honor those who have lived and died for the cause of freedom."
— Emilee Eagar, Jed Boal