The Pentagon identified the two U.S. paratroopers reportedly slain by an Afghan soldier on Monday.
The troops’ identities were revealed as Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, of Stryker, Ohio, and Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Chicago, Ill., according to a Department of Defense statement released late Tuesday.
“Both soldiers died July 29, 2019, in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained in a combat related incident. The incident is under investigation,” the statement said.
Kreischer and Nance were members of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Army Col. Arthur Sellers, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team 82nd Airborne Division (“The Panther Brigade”), said in a statement on Tuesday, “These young men were true All Americans and embodied the qualities of selfless service and courage as they answered our nation’s call to deploy to Afghanistan,” said Col. Arthur Sellers, Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. “Our focus is now providing their loved ones with every available resource to help them in this most difficult time.”
Nance was an automatic rifleman and had been in the Army since January 2017. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge.
Kreischer was also a rifleman and had been in the Army since June 2018. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge.
The news of the troops’ deaths was first announced in a brief statement by NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, which did not provide details of their deaths.
Afghan army spokesman Ahmad Sadiq later confirmed to Stars and Stripes that the troops were killed by an Afghan soldier at a base in Shah Wali Kot district in the southern province of Kandahar.
“We and our foreign colleagues are working hard together to eliminate the enemies of this country, the enemies of Afghanistan and humanity,” Sadiq told Stars and Stripes. “It is unfortunate that some of our soldiers will open fire on foreign troops or even on their Afghan colleagues.
Afghanistan’s Defense Department deputy spokesman Fawad Aman also confirmed the attack.
A post on Monday by Sellers had first confirmed that the two fallen troops were 3rd Brigade Paratroopers.
“It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the loss of two Paratroopers from the Brigade during combat operations,” Sellers wrote. “When appropriate, further information will be shared through the Army’s and the Brigade’s official information channels.”
Sellers noted that it may take several days to notify the fallen troops’ next of kin. He warned against sharing any information or speculation out of respect for the families.
“As you read this, Rear Detachment leaders are gathering resources and will make them available to the Paratroopers’ loved ones to help them in this most difficult time. The expertise of every staff member of this brigade and in the 82nd Airborne Division will be utilized to ensure the Families of the fallen are taken care of,” Sellers wrote.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team 82nd Airborne Division assumed authority of U.S. operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan in a ceremony on July 19, according to an update on the division’s website.
The fallen troops are the second and third U.S. service member deaths in Afghanistan this month alone, and increases the year-to-date deaths in Afghanistan to 15, marking the deadliest year of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since it began in 2015, as Military.com reported.