In July, identical twin sisters Brianna and Alyssa Cahoon were recruited by the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as 42A Human Resource Specialists and were even set to train together.
“How cool is it that they get to go through Basic Combat Training together?!” the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment said in a Facebook post on July 16.
But, the Cahoon family suffered a grave tragedy just a few days before the twins were set to graduate from their nine-week training when, on August 20, Alyssa collapsed during morning exercise.
The seventeen-year-old was immediately transported to an off-base hospital by Fort Jackson Emergency Medical Services, where she stayed for five days. Then, National Guard officials confirmed that Alyssa had passed away.
“It is such a tragedy. We are exceedingly heartbroken and saddened, especially for her sister who was in training with her, her parents, and the whole Cahoon family,” said National Guard Captain Travis Mueller in a statement to The Inquirer.
Afterward, the Cahoon family released a statement revealing that Alyssa’s death had been caused by a rare “heart abnormality”– a condition that Brianna also has but did not know about.
“Her sacrifice will save Brianna… who has the same heart abnormality but will now receive an internal defibrillator,” wrote the twin’s mother, Susan Cahoon, in a Facebook post.
The 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment also announced Alyssa’s tragic passing on Facebook, where hundreds of community members shared their condolences and memories with Alyssa.
Facebook; pictured above Brianna and Alyssa Cahoon smile together
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