Body of N.Y. paratrooper killed during training returns to Capital Region

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COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The body of Army Spc. Abigail Jenks, 20, of Gansevoort, landed at Albany International Airport Thursday afternoon. Her body was returned after she died during a training exercise at Fort Bragg.

“When I saw the plane, my heart just filled up a lot more. I’m so relieved that she’s home now with us,” said Mary Jenks, Abigail’s mother.

It was a somber day from the Albany International Airport to the procession up to the funeral home in Saratoga Springs. Abigail’s loved ones feeling the support from her military family and the community throughout the journey.

“This is just the beginning and I am sharing my daughter with everybody that I can, and I want her to be remembered,” said Mary Jenks.

It was a day of mourning as the rain fell on Thursday afternoon, as silence and love filled the air.

Family, military, Patriot Guard Riders, and members of the community honored fallen solider Spc. Jenks as her body returned home.

Abigail’s Great Aunt Diana Jenks Klementowski rode on her motorcycle during the procession with Abigail’s helmet on the back. She said it was the greatest ride of her life.

“To see everybody standing out in the pouring rain and saluting our procession as my niece made her way home, it was exquisite,” said she.

Fort Bragg officials said Jenks was conducting a static-line jump from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter when she suffered the fatal injury.

“She died doing what she loved which was being in the military. She loved being a solider, and she loved being a paratrooper,” said Klementowski.

Jenks was serving as a forward observer in Headquarters and Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT.

Her mother remembered her daughter as “Happy Abby.” Her mother said the young paratrooper was also an artist.

“I always knew she was going to succeed in whatever she did because whatever she did she was good at automatically,” Mary Jenks said about her daughter.

Jenks was a three-time volunteer who enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 2018. She was assigned to Fort Bragg as a paratrooper in June 2019.

A memorial service will be held at the Wilton Baptist Church on Saturday, May 1.

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