Iowa National Guard member drowns in Puerto Rico - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa National Guard member drowns in Puerto Rico

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SIOUX CITY (KWWL) -

The Iowa National Guard says Staff Sgt. Cory A. Mildenstein, 49, of Sioux City, drowned in the Atlantic Ocean near Aquadilla, Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

Mildenstein, who was part of the Civil Engineering Squadron, 185th Air Refueling Wing, based in Sioux City, was working to upgrade military facilities in Puerto Rico at the time of the accident.

Col. Greg Hapgood says Mildenstein was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean at the time of the accident.

Mildenstein was born June 26, 1962 in Cherokee and graduated from Sioux City East High School in 1981.

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in October 1985 and attended the Electronic Warfare Systems Specialist Course following graduation from basic training.  He was then assigned to George Air Force Base in California.

He joined the Iowa Air National Guard in October 2005 and was deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan as part of the Iowa Air National Guard Civil Engineering team in 2011.

His family released the following statement:

"Cory always had a smile on his face and space in his heart for everyone. He was very proud of his children Amber, April and Zac. He loved spending time with family and friends and he was always willing to help with a home repair, or car project."

Mildenstein leaves behind a fiancee, two daughters and a son.

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