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2 soldiers died by suicide on Arizona border deployments

Two soldiers who were found dead this month in Southern Arizona each died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, officials determined.

Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Greg Hess said Thursday that both soldiers died by suicide.

On June 1, U.S. Army PFC Steven Hodges was found dead near Nogales.

One June 23, PFC Kevin J. Christian was found dead near Ajo.

The deaths of both soldiers, who were deployed to Arizona as part of the Trump administration's Southwest Border Support Mission that has some 2,400 active-duty troops working on border enforcement, were confirmed earlier by officials at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, the home of U.S. Northern Command.

Hess released his findings in the deaths on Thursday.

Christian, 21, was found Sunday near Ajo, about 110 miles west of Tucson.

The private, from Haslet, Texas, was deployed with the Southwest Border Support Mission, and served with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division assigned to Fort Polk, La.

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Christian "was a constant positive force on our team, always ready and willing to shoulder more than his share of the load," said Col. Dallas Cheatham in a news release. "He will be sorely missed by the Warriors, but his contribution to our mission and the sacrifices he has made to our country will never be forgotten."

Hodges, a 20-year-old Menifee, Calif., native who enlisted in 2017, was found dead on June 1 near Nogales. He was a grenadier assigned to the 1st "Tomahawk" Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, since February 2018. His unit is part of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Hodges was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon during his service.

"Every Soldier in the Tomahawk Battalion is an essential member of our team. The loss of any Soldier is deeply felt. Private First Class Steven Hodges is sorely missed by his teammates and the entire Tomahawk family, every Soldier is a national treasure,” Lt. Col. Sean Lyons, the battalion commander wrote in a statement released by the military.

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U.S. Army

A mobile surveillance camera system manned by soldiers monitors a sector near the Presidio Border Patrol Station, April 4, at Presidio, Texas.