A Utah Army National Guardsman died and others were wounded by a blast while clearing a building in eastern Afghanistan, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday.
The incident occurred Wednesday while a 12-soldier team was on patrol with Afghan troops battling the Islamic State, which has established a foothold in the eastern part of the country and has carried out several deadly attacks elsewhere in Afghanistan.
The building was being cleared “for safety reasons," but it was booby-trapped with explosives, Herbert said in a Thursday morning news conference.
The wounded suffered “various degrees of injuries,” he said, but he could provide no further information.
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said earlier that the wounded, which also included Afghan troops, had been medically evacuated.
“It’s a tragedy for them and a tragedy for all of us,” Herbert said, adding that he would contact victims’ families to offer condolences. “It also is a reminder to all of us that the war on terror continues.”
The family of the slain soldier identified him as Aaron Butler, 27, of Monticello, Utah, the Associated Press reported. His father Randy Butler said in a statement he was a champion high school wrestler who became a Green Beret after graduating from the U.S. Army Special Forces qualification course with honors in 2016.
“Aaron was absolutely fearless, selfless, courageous and relentless,” his father told the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Department of Defense identified Butler on Thursday in a statement saying, the staff sergeant died "of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations. The incident is under investigation."
Of about 190 Utah National Guard soldiers and airmen now deployed, about 130 are in the Central Command area of operations. At least three of the wounded are not Utah residents but serve in the state’s guard unit.
In recent months, U.S. forces have been assisting Afghan troops in battling a Central Asian ISIS affiliate, known as ISIS-K, in eastern Afghanistan.
The U.S. has made it a priority to defeat the group in the country this year. At least six of the nine other U.S. combat deaths this year before Wednesday occurred in Nangarhar province, near the border with Pakistan.
Wednesday’s death is the first servicemember from Utah killed in action since May 2014, when Pfc. Cody J. Towse, a member of the Army’s 1st Armored Division, was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Kandahar province. It was the first combat fatality for the Utah National Guard in Afghanistan since 2010, when Sgt. 1st Class James Thode of the 118th Sapper Company was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Khost province, Herbert said.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.