Cory Burgess, 06-30-07
Anthony Williams, 07-01-07

Boat accidents claim two Alaska-based GIs

Anchorage Daily News, July 3, 2007

Two Alaska-based soldiers who weren't wearing life jackets died last weekend in separate boating accidents, the Army reported Monday.

Spc. Cory Burgess, 23, drowned at Fort Richardson's Clunie Lake early Saturday morning while trying to swim ashore after the canoe he was fishing from capsized. Two other soldiers fishing with Burgess made it safely to shore. They tried to rescue Burgess but couldn't, according to a written statement from the Army. Burgess, of Ragley, La., was a military policeman stationed at Fort Richardson in Anchorage since October 2003.

At Chena Lake near Fairbanks, the body of Pfc. Anthony Williams, 21, was recovered Sunday. Williams, from Texarkana, Texas, was with his wife and another soldier Saturday in a rowboat about 150 feet from shore when the wind blew Williams' hat into the water, the release said.

The other soldier jumped into the water to get the hat. Williams stood up and lost his balance and fell into the water. The other soldier and Williams' wife tried to rescue Williams but couldn't.

Alaska State Troopers responded to the scene. The incident is under investigation but foul play is not suspected.

Williams, an infantryman with B Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, had been stationed at Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks since October.

No one in either boating party wore life jackets, the Army said.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said autopsy results indicate drowning to be the apparent cause of Williams' death.

"Alcohol was involved but to what degree will be determined," she said.

Toxicology results will not be available for a month or longer, she said.

In Burgess's death at Clunie Lake, the initial military police report said the three soldiers from the 164th Military Police Company were fishing at about 1:30 a.m. when their canoe flipped and they were dumped into the lake.

As the three swam to shore, Burgess became fatigued and went under, said Bob Hall, a spokesman for U.S. Army Alaska.

Burgess enlisted in April 2003. He had been stationed at Fort Richardson since October 2003.

Both Burgess' and Williams' next of kin have been notified.