Pentagon releases names of soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Abbie Bennett
June 27, 2019 - 9:09 am

Courtesy of U.S. Army

Two soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday and the Department of Defense has released their names.

Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, 32, of Heilbronn, Germany. Riley was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colo.

Sgt. James G. Johnston, 24, of Trumansburg, N.Y. Johnston was assigned to 79th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 71st Ordnance Group, Fort Hood, Texas.

The soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

Both soldiers died June 25 in the Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan because of wounds they received from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations.

“Mike was an experienced Special Forces noncommissioned officer and the veteran of five previous deployments to Afghanistan,” Col. Lawrence G. Ferguson, commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), said in a statement. “We will honor his service and sacrifice as we remain steadfast in our commitment to our mission.”

Johnston's wife of more than three years, Krista, is carrying their daughter. On Wednesday she announced his death on Facebook. Early Thursday, before the Pentagon released his name, Krista was sharing photos of her husband and said she and his parents were heading to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware "so we can bring (him) home," she wrote.

"My heart and everything else is hurting and I don't really have the ability to keep putting words together, but I thank all of you so much for the kind words and support,” she wrote. “I love you husband, forever and always you better watch over me and our baby girl.”

The incident is under investigations, DoD said in a news release Thursday.

The soldiers were killed the day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to the country. 

The two deaths bring the 2019 total of U.S. service member deaths in Afghanistan to 10. 

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