BRADENTON, Fla. — Army Spc. Nicholas Panipinto was just 20 years old when his life was cut short, but now he is indirectly saving the lives of so many others.
“He was always the one you could count on to be rational and levelheaded and he’s just greatly missed,” said Kimberly Weaver, Nicholas Panipinto’s mother.
Panipinto died in 2019 when the vehicle he was in overturned during a training exercise at Camp Humphreys in South Korea.
“Medivac response taking two hours to get him to a hospital. That's just unacceptable and he could have survived had the situation been different,” Weaver said.
Since then, his mother, Kimberly Weaver, has been pushing for change, working with Congressman Vern Buchanan to get new military training reforms signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The law requires the Pentagon to implement more realistic training practices, develop stricter enforcement standards and ensure better oversight to prevent future military training accidents and deaths.
A copy of a military report on Panipinto’s death, Weaver previously provided describes what happened. According to the report, the investigator noted irregularities in the driver’s training program. The report also describes the medical care received. Civilian EMTs responded before additional medics and a surgeon arrived on the scene.
According to the report, the investigator stated, “The emergency medical care provided by civilian and military first responders was to the appropriate standard of care” and that necessary equipment and medicines were available.
But according to the report, one statement taken noted concern the civilian EMTs were overwhelmed and didn’t seem to have the correct fluids to administer. Other statements noted delays with Medevacs, one that went to a wrong location and another that had mechanical issues.
Though it won't bring Nicholas back, his mother finds comfort knowing this new law could prevent another tragedy.
“He didn’t get to save lives the way he wanted to in combat but he’s going to save lives in another way,” Weaver said.