2 Drill Sergeants Found Dead: What Really Happened At Fort Jackson?

2 Drill Sergeants Found Dead


In a somber turn of events, Fort Jackson, a military base in South Carolina, has witnessed the untimely deaths of two drill sergeants, Allen Burtram and Zachary Melton, aged 34 and 30, respectively, within a span of just eight days. This tragic occurrence has raised many questions and concerns, and investigations are underway to uncover the circumstances surrounding their deaths. It’s crucial to note that authorities assert that these incidents are not connected in any way. This article will delve into the details of these unfortunate events and provide insights into the lives of these two dedicated military personnel.

Allen Burtram’s Disappearance

The unfortunate chain of events began when Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram failed to report for duty on December 8. His absence raised immediate concerns among his colleagues, and a search was initiated to locate him. Tragically, he was discovered lifeless, adding a layer of mystery to this heartbreaking incident.

Zachary Melton’s Discovery

A mere eight days later, on December 16, Staff Sgt. Zachary Melton was found unresponsive in his car. Just like Burtram, he too had not reported for work, intensifying the concerns surrounding their deaths. It’s important to emphasize that Fort Jackson officials have stated that there is no evidence of foul play in Burtram’s case.

Investigations Underway

In the wake of these distressing events, investigations into the specific circumstances of each death have been initiated. Both Allen Burtram and Zachary Melton were decorated military members, having dedicated significant portions of their lives to serving their country.

Allen Burtram’s Service

Allen Burtram had a commendable 12-year service record, with the last 18 months of his career spent as a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson. His commitment to training and mentoring new recruits had been instrumental in shaping the future of the U.S. Army.

Zachary Melton’s Dedication

Zachary Melton had an equally impressive military career, spanning over a decade, with the final three years spent as a drill sergeant at the same base. His dedication to his role as a mentor and leader had a profound impact on the soldiers under his tutelage.

Previous Incidents

These recent tragedies are not isolated incidents at Fort Jackson. Earlier in the year, the base had already experienced a death, adding to the perplexity surrounding the safety and well-being of those stationed there.


The deaths of Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram and Staff Sgt. Zachary Melton are not only a loss to the military community but to the nation as a whole. The circumstances surrounding their deaths remain shrouded in mystery, and the ongoing investigations aim to shed light on what transpired at Fort Jackson during those fateful days.

Our hearts go out to their families, friends, and fellow soldiers who are undoubtedly mourning their loss. As we await the results of the investigations, the memory of these two dedicated drill sergeants will live on in the hearts of those they trained and mentored.


1. What is the role of a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Army?

A Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Army is responsible for coaching, counseling, and mentoring new recruits during their initial training. They play a crucial role in transforming civilians into disciplined and combat-ready soldiers.

2. How long were Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram and Staff Sgt. Zachary Melton in the Army?

Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram served in the Army for 12 years, including the last 18 months as a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson. Staff Sgt. Zachary Melton served for over a decade, spending the last three years as a drill sergeant at the same base.

3. Are the deaths of the two drill sergeants at Fort Jackson connected?

No, there is no evidence to suggest that the deaths of Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram and Staff Sgt. Zachary Melton are connected. Authorities have emphasized that these incidents are unrelated.

4. How many investigations are underway regarding the deaths at Fort Jackson?

“Several” investigations have been initiated to determine the specifics of each of the deaths, according to Brigade General Jason E. Kelly, the commanding general at Fort Jackson.

5. How many deaths have occurred at Fort Jackson in 2023, and who was the third fatality?

Three deaths have occurred at Fort Jackson in 2023. In addition to Staff Sgt. Allen Burtram and Staff Sgt. Zachary Melton, staff sergeant Jaime Contreras was found dead in June after going missing during a land navigation course at the base.

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