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How did Mikel Rubino die? Paratrooper found dead days after death of two Fort Bragg soldiers

Mikel Rubino's death remains under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department
UPDATED AUG 15, 2021
Private first class Mikel Rubino hailed from Oroville, California (Army handout)
Private first class Mikel Rubino hailed from Oroville, California (Army handout)

FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA: A 29-year old soldier was reportedly found dead in his barracks at Fort Bragg. Private first class Mikel Rubino, who hailed from Oroville, California, was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday, August 13, by medical personnel.

"The loss of Mikel to his family, friends, and fellow Paratroopers is a tragedy," Colonel Phillip J Kiniery III, commander 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, said in a statement. "We mourn Mikel's passing alongside his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during this difficult time."


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A sign shows Fort Bragg information on May 13, 2004, in Fayetteville, North Carolina (Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)

Who was Mikel Rubino?

Rubino had reportedly joined the Army in 2020 and had moved to Fort Bragg in 2021. During his time, he served as an infantryman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, an airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute assault operations.

As per a recent report, in order to evacuate US embassy personnel from Kabul from a Taliban onslaught threatening to topple the government, about 3,500 from Fort Bragg were being flown from the United States to the Middle East. These were paratroopers from one of the 82nd Airborne Division’s brigade combat teams. American diplomats were soon evacuated from their embassy by chopper.

As per reports, as the Taliban entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul, and an official in the Afghan Interior Ministry said President Ashraf Ghani left the city for Tajikistan. The president's office told reporters, however, it "cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani's movement for security reasons". A representative of the Taliban said the group was checking on Ghani's whereabouts. Taliban fighters were reaching the capital "from all sides", a senior Afghan interior ministry official told Reuters.

Murals are seen along the walls at a quiet US embassy on July 30, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

As per reports, Rubino’s awards and decorations included the National Defense Service Medal, a decoration presented to recognize all military members who have served in active duty during a declared "national emergency"; the Army Service Ribbon, which is awarded to enlisted personnel after the successful completion of their initial-entry training and Officers after the completion of basic/orientation or higher level course; and the Army Parachutist Badge, which is awarded to soldiers who have previously earned the Basic Parachutist Badge and simultaneously complete one airborne jump into a combat zone.

How did Mikel Rubino die?

Rubino's cause of death has not yet been revealed. Rubino was found unresponsive in his barracks room on Fort Bragg. The incident remains under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department. Rubino leaves behind his wife Alyssa, their daughter Legacy, and his mother, Sheila.

Last month, two paratroopers were found dead in their barracks room at Fort Bragg. Investigators said they believed that drug use was involved. Specialist Joshua Diamond of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Private First Class Matthew Disney of Aberdeen, Maryland, both served with the 82nd Airborne Division.

"At this point in the investigation, we do have credible information that the soldiers were involved with illicit drugs," Chris Grey, a spokesman for Army CID, said in a statement then. Both soldiers served as field artillery firefinder radar operators and were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.