Army Pvt. Paul Varner, 20, was killed during a live-fire training exercise last night in Arkansas while preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. He was eager to serve his country, and his death is a loss for all Americans.

A communications error may have led to the death of a St. Louis area Army soldier during a training exercise in Arkansas, the soldier's mother said today.

Pvt. Paul Varner of Wildwood and another soldier in the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division were caught in the middle of live-fire training when Varner was shot, Linda Varner said she was told by the Army. The other soldier was not hit.

Details were still developing as the Army investigated the incident, Linda Varner said. ``Somebody had made a mistake. Communications that should've taken place didn't happen.''

May God have mercy on his friends and family whom he preceded to Heaven.

Been thinking about Paul all day. The thought of death makes me crave life all the more, and leaves me feeling selfish. Is it fair that he died? Is it right? Did God cause it, or allow it to happen? How is he served by Paul's death? I don't know the answers to these things. I doubt the answers would be satisfying, anyway.

Even talking about death feels unlucky, like I'm going to draw its attention. I've heard of survivors feeling guilty... I'm not a survivor or closely related to what killed Paul, but I don't feel guilty. I feel relieved that it wasn't me or anyone closer to me. Then I feel guilty about that. Is that what survivor's guilt is?

Paul was a Christian, and so I am, but I'm afraid to die. Does that reflect a lack of faith? I'm a coward. I want to live. I want to get married and have babies and gripe about taxes for another hundred years. I'm glad there are men like Paul, better men than me, that make my life possible. And then I feel guilty again, all in a circle. I don't know if it makes sense or not.

Proverbs 103:13-18

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-

18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

Update 2:
Roscoe has a description of combined arms training and why it is both dangerous and important.

Update 3:
Here's some video about Paul with pictures of him and interviews with his brother Adam and some friends.



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