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cnsnews.com, August 22, 2019

US Combat Deaths in Afghanistan Hit Highest Level in 5 Years; 2 More Casualties on Wednesday

And since Operation Enduring Freedom began in October 2001, 2,428 U.S. personnel have been killed in the conflict, 1,904 of them in comba

By Patrick Goodenough

The death of two U.S. Green Berets in Afghanistan on Wednesday brings to 14 the number of American military personnel killed in combat there this year – the highest annual combat death toll since 2014, and with more than four months of the year yet to run.

The Pentagon on Thursday identified the two soldiers as Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, of Chicopee, Mass., and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif.

The soldiers, assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., died “as a result of wounds sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations” in Faryab, a province in the north of Afghanistan, bordering Turkmenistan.

The number of combat deaths this year, 14 to date, compares to 13 in 2018, 11 in 2017, nine in 2016, and 11 in 2015. Forty U.S. personnel were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2014.

Since the start of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which succeeded Operation Enduring Freedom in January 2015, a total of 77 U.S. personnel have died, 57 of them in combat circumstances

And since Operation Enduring Freedom began in October 2001, 2,428 U.S. personnel have been killed in the conflict, 1,904 of them in combat, according to a tally of official data.

Reacting to the deaths of Deleon-Figueroa and Gonzalez, who were promoted posthumously to the rank of master sergeant, Col. John W. Sannes, commander of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), said it was “an honor having them serve within the ranks of 7th SFG (A). They were a part of our Family, and will not be forgotten.”

“Our priority is to now provide the best possible care to the Families of our fallen warriors” he said. “We ask that you keep their Families and teammates in your thoughts and prayers.”

According to U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Deleon-Figueroa served more than 13 years in the Army, was assigned first as a Special Forces communications sergeant, and then as a Special Forces operations and intelligence sergeant.

Full article here.

Category: US-NATO - Views: 448