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Fort Drum soldier dies in Afghanistan

A 1st Theater Sustainment Command Soldier presents a folded American flag to a family member of a deceased service member, Nov. 5, 2018. (Sgt. Kayla Benson/U.S. Army)

A Fort Drum soldier was killed in a noncombat-related incident while serving in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense announced Friday that Pfc. Joshua Mikeasky, 19, of Johnstown, Pa., near Pittsburgh, died Thursday at Bagram Airfield, Bagram District, Parwan Province in Afghanistan.

Pfc. Mikeasky served as a health care specialist assigned to Fort Drum’s 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. He is survived by his mother and father.

The incident is under investigation.

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At Jefferson Community College on Friday night to give a commencement speech, Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, senior commander of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, said that details about the incident have not yet emerged.

“It’s the saddest part of my job,” he said. “You can imagine at this time of the year, losing a loved one.”

He mentioned that 10th Mountain Division soldiers are deployed many times during their careers.

“The sun never sets on the 10th Mountain patch,” he said, noting the tragedy involving the loss of such a young person.

In October, Pfc. Mikeasky’s unit arrived in Afghanistan, where it is supporting NATO’s Resolute Support mission and the U.S.-led Operation Freedom’s Sentinel training and advising Afghan security forces.

Pfc. Mikeasky joined the Army in September 2017 and followed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.

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Pfc. Mikeasky’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the NATO Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

Pfc. Mikeasky’s death marked the 15th American service member to die in Afghanistan this year.

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© 2018 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.