CAMP ROBERTS, Calif. - An Army National Guard spokesman tells KCOY-12 a memorial service is planned for a staff sergeant who died during training at Camp Roberts. 41-year-old Raul Escobedo of Fullerton died of a heart attack during the National Guard's 2-week training at the base. Escobedo is described as a highly decorated infantryman with more than 20 years of service. Public affairs officials with the Army National Guard wouldn't provide details of the service, only saying it will be a private memorial.
Ecobedo's role was a supervisor and coordinator of training missions, sending soldiers out for a series of grueling exercises and drills that pushed them to the limits.
"Pretty intense," said Staff Sgt. Michael Kuhn. "We were doing some pretty long days out in the sticks. But we're running, getting a good sweat in, trying to acclimate to this heat especially with all this gear."
Kuhn was busy Tuesday directing soldiers during drills at Camp Roberts' brand new combat facility. There were over 5,000 soldiers at Camp Roberts taking part in the largest training session for the California Army National Guard since before 9/11.
There was a little bit of everything, from emergency response drills to combat training.
It's enough to put even the strongest soldiers to the test.
"We're humping up and down these hills so everybody's legs are a little worn out," said Staff Sgt. Kuhn. "Then you have the mental stress, trying to prepare the mission, trying to train soldiers. And if you're one of the junior guys, trying to absorb all the information that's being thrown at you left and right can be pretty mentally exhausting."
The training being done at the base is at a level that many of these soldiers have never seen before. The new training facilities at Camp Roberts provide a unique experience for the soldiers.
"It's a big coordinated effort. This facility gives us that opportunity to a really large high level of training," said Cody Gallo of the 79th Infantry Brigade. "It really prepares them for that overseas mission when we're called to defend our nation overseas."
The 2-week training session at Camp Roberts will end on June 22nd.