National Guard: Soldier died of heart attack during Camp Roberts training

A staff sergeant training at Camp Roberts died Wednesday night after suffering an apparent heart attack.

Raul Escobedo, 41, of Fullerton, was a “highly decorated” infantryman with more than 20 years of service, according to the California Army National Guard.

He had been at Camp Roberts with the Guard’s 40th Infantry Division, out of Los Alamitos, for a large-scale annual training event held at the military base near San Miguel.

Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Escobedo was rushed to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo after his fellow soldiers tried to save his life when he showed signs of a heart attack, the Guard said. He died at the hospital later that night.

The solider had been resting after being treated for chest pains and discharged from Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton earlier Wednesday. Hospital personnel there had examined Escobedo before releasing him for duty, according to a statement by the Guard released Thursday.

Escobedo was tasked with managing the overall operations and coordination of the training missions, Capt. Will Martin, California Army National Guard public affairs officer, said on Thursday.

“It was in the evening, so it wasn't hot, and he was not engaged in physical activity. So it seems to be unrelated to the exercise itself,” Martin said.

Escobedo had been working in the headquarters unit, which means most of his duties took place in an office-like setting inside a large tent, he added.

Escobedo was deployed to Iraq on a combat tour from 2007 to 2008 and to Kosovo on a peacekeeping tour from 2004 to 2006. “He was highly decorated, including five Army Commendation Medals and three Army Achievement Medals,” Martin said.

Escobedo’s wife, whose name was not disclosed, is also a National Guardsman.

The Guard flew her to the hospital shortly after his death, and sent counselors and chaplains to provide counseling to Escobedo’s family and fellow soldiers.

Information on when the last death occurred at Camp Roberts wasn’t immediately available Thursday from the California Army National Guard.

According to Tribune archives, a 29-year-old civilian construction worker died at the base in August 2009 while working to install a segment of pipeline for the Nacimiento Water Project. The work was unrelated to military activities. He was run over by a dump truck.