Army soldier found dead in wooded area in New Jersey

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Fort Drum, NY –  A missing U.S. Army soldier was found dead in the woods in Byram, New Jersey this weekend.

Corporal Hayden Harris, age 20, an infantryman from 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, has been found deceased.

The investigation is ongoing.

“We are devastated,” said Brigadier General Brett Funck, Acting Senior Commander, Fort Drum & the 10th Mountain Division.

“It was well known here that Corporal Harris was a great soldier, and as we share our grief with his friends and family, I hear again and again how he was also – and most importantly – a really wonderful, caring person. His death is a tremendous loss for his loved ones, this Division and our nation,” he said.

Corporal Harris, of Guys, Tennessee, joined the Army in March 2019. After training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he arrived to Fort Drum, New York, in July 2019.

His awards and decorations include two Army Achievement Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. He graduated Air Assault School in 2019.

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He is survived by his mother, father and sister.

Corporal Harris was posthumously promoted to the rank of corporal and awarded the Army Commendation Medal, a solemn end to the vigil the unit had kept since the early hours of Friday, December 18. Just hours after members of the unit lost contact with Harris, they reported him missing.

“Corporal Harris had excellent teammates in the 1-89 Cavalry Regiment. I am proud of their quick action and hope that they can find some comfort in knowing they ultimately helped law enforcement officers locate Corporal Harris and greatly empowered the investigation into his disappearance,” Funck said.

Several police agencies in multiple states assisted with the investigation. There was also an incredible response on social media and from news stations in an effort to share Corporal Harris’s picture when his whereabouts were unknown.

“We are grateful to everyone who shared his picture or said a prayer for his safe return, and we ask that you continue to tell the story of this great Soldier, and keep his Family in your thoughts and prayers, as we will,” said Funck.

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“Our community is far-flung but close-knit. And in very tough times like this, we are especially grateful for the incredible relationships we have with our families, our friends, our community, and our partners,” Funck said.