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Pentagon identifies 2 Special Forces soldiers killed in Afghanistan
The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
DeLeon-Figueroa, of Chicopee, Mass., and Gonzales, of La Puente, California, were both posthumously promoted to master sergeant. They were assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
"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," Col. John W. Sannes, 7th SFG (A) commander, said in a statement.
"Our priority is to now provide the best possible care to the families of our fallen warriors. We ask that you keep their families and teammates in your thoughts and prayers."
The Army only provided additional information and a photo of DeLeon-Figueroa, since the family of Gonzalez requested no photo or additional information be released, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
DeLeon-Figueroa had deployed six times over his for more than 13 years in the Army. He first deployed as an infantryman to Iraq in 2008 and then deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. He went on to complete Special Forces Qualification in 2014 as a communications sergeant, and later deployed as a Green Beret to South America in 2015 and 2018, and to Afghanistan in 2018 and 2019.
DeLeon-Figueroa also held the billet of operations sergeant and intelligence sergeant during his time with Special Forces, Bymer said. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart Medal.
A total of 16 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan this year. Fourteen have died in combat, to include two service members killed in an apparent insider attack on July 29.
Two U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been killed in non-combat incidents and a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was declared dead after falling overboard while the ship was supporting operations in Afghanistan.
Two people, including a U.S. Marine Corps member, were arrested over the weekend and accused of distributing drugs to service members and civilians in North Carolina.
It has been a deadly year for Green Berets, with every active-duty Special Forces Group losing a valued soldier in Afghanistan or Syria.
A total of 12 members of the Army special operations forces community have died in 2019, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. All but one of those soldiers were killed in combat.
In Afghanistan, Army special operators account for 10 of the 17 U.S. troops killed so far this year. Eight of the fallen were Green Berets. Of the other two soldiers, one was attached to the 10th Special Forces Group and the other was a Ranger.
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