Army: Alaska soldier fatally shoots himself at base

Spc. Robert Roland Sage

An Alaska-based soldier who returned from nine months in Afghanistan last year fatally shot himself early Saturday at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to Army officials.

Spc. Robert Rolland Sage, 22, of Elgin, Ill., died from an apparent self-inflicted single gunshot wound. A public information officer declined to say where Sage was shot.

Sage’s next of kin have been notified.

“Our hearts go out to his family,” said John Pennell, U.S. Army Alaska spokesman. “We hate to lose any of our soldiers under any circumstances.”

Sage, who joined the Army in October 2010, was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Airborne. The 3-509th is a battalion of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) based at JBER.

After completing basic and advanced training at Fort Benning, Ga., Sage reported to Alaska in June 2011. He was deployed to Afghanistan from December 2011 to August 2012 during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is looking into the shooting.

So far this year, four Alaska-based soldiers have died here. Of those, Pennell said, two are considered potential suicides: Sage and a soldier in Fairbanks.

By Anchorage Daily News/