Officer who died in Makaha fall was an 'outstanding soldier,' Army says


POSTED: Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Army officer, who died after falling in Makaha Valley Sunday trying to retrieve a tent, was lauded yesterday as an “;outstanding soldier”; who just returned from Iraq last month.

First Lt. Garland J. English, 29, a native of Averill Park, N.Y., was assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion at Schofield Barracks. He was a platoon leader with the Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

“;First Lieutenant English was an outstanding soldier,”; said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “;The soldiers of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command are greatly saddened by this loss. We continue to pray for his family in this most difficult time.”;

English earned his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Columbia University in 2004. He taught in New York City public schools and served on various political campaigns before joining the military in September 2007, according to Army officials.

He was assigned to Schofield Barracks in October 2008 and, a month later, deployed to Iraq where he served as a platoon leader with Charlie Company, 84th Engineer Battalion.

English returned from Iraq last month and his awards include the Bronze Star and the Iraqi Campaign medals, the Army said.

On Sunday, English fell as he and a fellow hiker rappelled down a steep ridge to retrieve a tent they had lost. Firefighters picked up the second hiker from the trail. 

Poor weather conditions and visibility hampered firefighters' efforts to recover English on Sunday. The next day, firefighters recovered his body several hundred feet below from where he was last seen.

English died from multiple blunt force injuries in the accidental fall, the city Medical Examiner determined.

He is survived by his mother, Lynne Luft, and his father, Reed M. English.