Special Forces sergeant major killed in Afghanistan

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The Pentagon has identified the soldier who died in Afghanistan on Saturday as Sgt. Maj. James G. "Ryan" Sartor, a member of 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Sartor, 40, of Teague, Texas, was a Special Forces company sergeant major on his seventh combat deployment.


"We're incredibly saddened to learn of Sgt. Maj. James 'Ryan' Sartor's passing in Afghanistan. Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional," Col. Brian R. Rauen, commander of 10th SFG(A), said in a statement. "He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed."

Sartor was killed by enemy small arms fire in Faryab Province, Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

Born on Sept. 23, 1978, Sartor first joined the Army in June 2001 and was assigned as an infantryman with the 3rd Infantry Division. He deployed to Iraq in 2002.

He passed Special Forces qualification and joined 10th SFG in 2005. He deployed to Iraq as a Green Beret in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010. He later deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 and 2019, according to Army Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command.

Sartor is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Special Operations Diver Badge.

He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.

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Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".

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