Jeff grad dies during Army basic training on march

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Jeff High School graduate collapsed and died during army training exercises.

Officials at Fort Benning in Georgia said they are investigating the death of Army Private Aurek Rardin early Saturday morning. Rardin began vomiting, then passed out while participating on an overnight march during basic training.

Rardin is a 2012 graduate of Jefferson High School in Lafayette.

He took Japanese from Jeff teacher Karen Countryman for three years. Countryman remembers him as being passionate about joining the military, even as a freshman.

The last time he visited her was in the fall, when he stopped by to say hello and brought her a bouquet of flowers.

“The sweetest, sweetest young man. He had a lot of good friends,” said Countryman. “One of those kids who often had a twinkle in his eye and he had a great sense of humor. He was also very, very kind. I have a special place in my heart for him.”

Rardin had been in the Army for a little more than three months.

He was 20 years old.

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