(KMOV.com) -- A Missouri National Guard member from Union, Mo. died Monday in Guatemala after a training accident.
According to reports, Sgt. Robert J. Traxel, 34, was killed after being struck in the head by a tree limb that fell due to wind powered by a helicopter. This happened while he was performing his annual training duties in support of Beyond the Horizon Guatemala exercise. Traxel was providing public affairs support at the exercise. This accident is under investigation.
Missouri governor, Jay Nixon, spoke about Traxel and should extreme gratefulness for his service.
"The family, friends and colleagues of Staff Sgt. Traxel are in our prayers, as we remember this brave Citizen-Soldier who served not only in the Guard, but also during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as both an active duty Soldier and Marine. He answered the call of duty many times, and our state and nation are grateful," said Nixon.
Traxel join the Missouri National Guard after serving seven years with The United States Army and Marines. When with the Guard he was a public affairs broadcast specialist with the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, out of Jefferson City.
Traxel was providing broadcast journalism support, while also conduction annual training for the Beyond the Horizon Guatemala 2012 exercise.The exercise is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-conducted joint military and humanitarian exercise.
Missouri National Guard Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner said Traxel was leader and a great part of their mission.
"Upon joining the Missouri National Guard, SSG Traxel immediately assumed a strong leadership role and we were proud to have him supporting this important mission," said Danner.
Traxel received numerous metals and awards during his service. They include the Army Achievement Medal, second award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ two campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Service Ribbon, and the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The family of Traxel was notified and funeral arrangements are pending.