A soldier from Oro Valley died during training exercises in South Korea, the military and his parents said.
The parents of Spc. Michael William Corey, who was in training for non-commissioned officers near Seoul, said they were notified Monday that he died.
Corey, 31, was in Army military intelligence and based in Japan. His body was found by Korean residents near Camp Jackson, a training academy north of Seoul.
When military personnel came to the front door of the Oro Valley family’s home, “I knew that it was not good,” said Mary Corey, the mother of the soldier.
“They said he was out on a field mission. He was by himself in training. They gave him a compass and a map, and during the mission he fell and hit his head,” said Mary Corey.
“He was found by Korean nationals,” said the mother who will be meeting with military authorities again Friday to discuss the circumstances surrounding her son’s death.
The military said in a statement that Michael Corey was taking part in “land navigation training” when he died. The cause of death was unknown, according to published media reports.
She said she was told the investigation is expected to be completed in August.
“Michael was always the kind of person who wanted to be first,” said his mother, adding that he expected to complete training by June 28, and return to Camp Zama in Japan. He joined the Army in 2013.
The family moved from Seattle, Washington, to Oro Valley when Michael was 15 years old. “He was thoughtful, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was responsible and conscientious,” said Mary Corey.
She said her son liked to read, and play basketball, soccer and golf. He attended Canyon del Oro High School, but was not in sports because he worked as a busboy at Oro Valley Country Club on the weekends.
“He saved his money and bought a red 1988 Ford pickup when he was about 16,” she recalled.
Michael Corey graduated from CDO in 2002, and then studied criminal justice at Pima Community College. He transferred to Northern Arizona University and received a bachelor’s degree in 2007.
He worked security for a company that was contracted by the federal government before he decided to join the Army.
“I heard from him right before he left for South Korea,” said Mary Corey, explaining that she and her son communicated through Facebook. “I talked to him last on May 22, and he left the next day for South Korea.
“He was a good man,” said Mary Corey of her son. “This hit us hard. This has changed us forever.”
Services are pending.