As Afghan forces attempted to re-open a road between Marja and Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand in Afghanistan, fighting with the Taliban intensified to a concerning level. The following events lead to the death of Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, 30, of Albuquerque, New Mexico – the first U.S. soldier lost in Afghanistan this year.
In the Sangin district, a frequent hotspot of activity, Taliban forces are attempting to retake the city. It was at this point that two Air Force Special Operations HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters were sent in to evacuate Americans on the ground. However, due to the firefight one was waved off and another was downed when its rotor blade struck a wall of an Afghan compound.
In the ensuing battle McClintock lost his life when his unit was attacked by small arms fire. McClintock leaves behind a wife and infant child. The outpouring of praise for this hero was unanimous, with many officials calling him “the best of the best.”
Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, Washington National Guard commander had this to say:
“Staff Sergeant McClintock was one of the best of the best. He was a Green Beret who sacrificed time away from his loved ones to train for and carry out these dangerous missions. This is a tough loss for our organization, and a harsh reminder that ensuring freedom is not free. We stand with Staff Sergeant McClintock’s family, and will provide ongoing support during the grieving and healing process.”
People also took to Twitter to mourn his loss:
— Erica Zucco (@ericazucco) January 7, 2016
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) January 7, 2016
In memory of Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, of Albuquerque, NM, who died 01/05 in Marjah District, Afghanistan. Thank u for your service.
— Christina Saull (@christinasaull) January 7, 2016
R.I.P Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock
— Victor Ford (@Victorford317) January 7, 2016
The Pentagon has identified the U.S. Army Special Forces soldier killed on Tuesday in Afghanistan.
The Defense Department on Wednesday identified the service member as Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, 30, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A husband and a father of an infant son, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), based in Buckley, Washington.
McClintock was killed during an extended firefight in Marja in Helmand province “from wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his unit with small arms fire,” according to a statement from the Pentagon.
He was the first U.S. service member to be killed in action in Afghanistan in 2016. Two other American troops were wounded during the operation to assist Afghan forces in taking back territory from a resurgent Taliban in the southwestern part of the country.
Troop levels in Afghanistan are set to decrease to 5,000, should that be reversed? Sound off in the comments below!