The Department of Defense on Saturday announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard, 31, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, died on Thursday, Aug. 29, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations, the Defense Department said. The incident is under investigation.
Ard was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington.
“Sgt. 1st Class Ard’s loss is felt across our 1st Special Forces Group Family,” Col. Owen G. Ray, commander of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) said in a statement. “Our priority now is to take care of his family and our Soldiers and provide the best possible care that we can during the incredible time of need.”
Ard was assigned to Fort Bragg and attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection and graduated from the Special Forces Qualifications Course in 2015. He deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Resolute Support Mission, as well as participating in multiple Joint Combined Exchange Training exercises in Indonesia, officials said.
Ard’s achievements include: the Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Army Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge and Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge.
Ard was promoted to Sgt. 1st Class on August 1, 2019, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
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