Staff Sgt. Robert Traxel

The visitation for Missouri National Guard Staff Sgt. Robert J. Traxel, 34, of Union, will be Wednesday from 3-9 p.m. at Kutis Funeral Home, located at 5255 Lemay Ferry Road, Mehlville.

The funeral will be at the same location at 10 a.m. Thursday, with a graveside service to follow at Midlawn Memorial Gardens, Union.

A Traxel Children Memorial Fund has been set up at River Region Credit Union in Jefferson City. Donations can be sent to the attention of Dana Alderman.

Traxel died July 2 while performing his annual training duties in support of Beyond the Horizon Guatemala exercise.

Reports indicate Traxel died of injuries after he was struck in the head by a tree limb that fell due to wind generated by helicopter rotor blades during a training exercise.

Traxel was providing public affairs support at the exercise. He filed his final report from Guatemala June 29.

The Missouri National Guard said the incident is under investigation.

Before signing up with the Missouri National Guard, Traxel’s family says he enlisted with the Marines right out of Oakville High School in south St. Louis County.

After that, he worked as a police officer in Florissant and other departments before enlisting with the Army, serving a tour in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Traxel was a public affairs broadcast specialist with the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, out of Jefferson City. He joined the unit and the Missouri National Guard April 19, after over seven years of prior service with the active Army and Marines. He was conducting annual training, providing broadcast journalism support to Beyond the Horizon Guatemala 2012, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-conducted joint military and humanitarian exercise.

Traxel was a decorated soldier and served in Afghanistan in 2008 and in Iraq in 2011 with the Army. His decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, second award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Service Ribbon, and the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Traxel leaves behind a wife and four children.