Thursday, November 30, 2023

MTSU ROTC alumnus 1st Lt. William “Blake” Pickel dies during training exercise


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1st Lt. William “Blake” Pickel, an MTSU ROTC alumnus, active duty soldier, combat veteran and Cleveland, Tennessee native, passed away Sunday at Fort Rucker, Alabama, after “symptoms during a training event,” according to a press release from Fort Rucker’s Public Affairs Office.

Fort Rucker officials were alerted around 8:30 p.m. that Pickel had been transported to Southeast Health hospital following a medical emergency during survival training.

According to the official statement, Pickel was pronounced dead at 9 p.m.

His death continues to be investigated.

Pickel served in the U.S. Army since 2007 and went on multiple combat tours, including Iraq and Afghanistan, with the 1st Aviation Brigade.

He earned his commission at MTSU on May 5, 2017, after graduating from the MTSU ROTC program as part of the “Green to Gold” scholarship program.

News of Pickel’s death comes just hours after the death of another MTSU graduate: Brandon Archer, who died Monday after drowning in the Buffalo River.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for an update.

To contact Editor-in-Chief Angele Latham, email

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