Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from Shaw Air Force Base and additional information about Staff Sgt. Melton’s service.

Defense Department officials have released the name of the airman who died in a non-combat related incident in Niger on Feb. 18.

Staff Sgt. Dennis F. Melton, 27, of Waverly, Tenn., was deployed with the 768th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron at Air Base 101 in Niamey at the time of his death. Melton had been on active duty since December 2016.

The incident is still under investigation.

Melton was assigned to the 20th Security Forces Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and arrived there Sept. 1, 2017.

“The passing of Staff Sergeant Dennis Melton is felt throughout the entire Defender family,” said Maj. Kevin Collett, 20th Security Forces Squadron commander. “Our hearts are heavy as we grieve with Dennis’ friends and family; we send our deepest condolences for their irreplaceable loss.”

During Staff Sgt. Melton’s time in the Air Force, he received an Achievement Medal, 3 Meritorious Unit Awards, a Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon.

Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master's candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.

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