The Pentagon has identified two U.S. service members who were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, of Chicopee, Mass., and Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif. were killed in combat on Wednesday, according to a Pentagon press release.
“Both soldiers died August 21, 2019 in Faryab Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations. The incident is under investigation,” the release said.
Both members were posthumously promoted to Master Sergeant.
The two were Special Forces soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
Deleon-Figueroa served more than 13 years in the Army and had been Special Forces for five years. He had deployed six times between 2008 to 2019, to Iraq, Afghanistan, and twice deployed to South America and Afghanistan.
Deleon-Figueroa was a highly decorated member, with awards and decorations that include “the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Army Commendation Medal (2OLC), Army Achievement Medal (3OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal with four Knot Device, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral “3”, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral “3”, NATO Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge,” the Army noted.
At the request of Gonzalez’s family, no details have been released about him.
“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,” said Col. John W. Sannes, 7th SFG (A) commander, according to an Army press release.
“Our Priority is to now provide the best possible care to the Families of our fallen warriors” said Sannes. “We ask that you keep their Families and teammates in your thoughts and prayers.”
More than a dozen U.S. troops have been killed in combat in Afghanistan so far this year, ABC News noted.
It is the deadliest year of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since it began in 2014.
President Trump reiterated on Tuesday his previous sentiment that the war in Afghanistan has gone on “long enough” and the U.S. is trying to strike a peace deal that would involve a withdrawal of some U.S. troops, Military.com reported.
“We’ve been a peacekeeper there, in a way, for 19 years and, at a certain point, you have to say that’s long enough,” Trump said, adding that the U.S. will recall “some of our troops back, but we have to have a presence.”
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday that the Army has “not received any direct orders to do anything,” according to Military.com.