The Department of Defense has released the identities of the two Special Operations Forces Soldiers killed while conducting a dismounted operation with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces on 26 April 2017.The raid was in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Nangarhar Province,Eastern Afghanistan,where they fell to small arms fire from ISIL-K militants.Another Soldier sustained minor injuries in the battle near Achin district.
The engagement began on Wednesday at about 2230 hours local time and lasted over three hours,according to Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis,USN.About 50 US Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos participated.Supported by close air support from fighter aircraft,attack helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles,in the event,they killed several ISIL-K leaders and militants,about 35 in total.An investigation into the battle is ongoing,to include a possibility that the Rangers were killed by friendly fire,the Pentagon said.
Both men were assigned to 3rd Battalion,75th Ranger Regiment out of Fort Benning,Georgia.Killed in action were:
Sgt.Joshua P. Rodgers,22,of Bloomington,Illinois and
Sgt.Cameron H. Thomas,23,of Kettering,Ohio.
Both Soldiers enlisted in the Army after High School graduation and were selected for Ranger training.They were on their third tours in Afghanistan.
SGT Rodgers had been decorated with the Army Achievement Medal,Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star,and the NATO Medal.
SGT Thomas had been decorated with the Joint Service Achievement Medal,Joint Meritorious Unit Award,and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star,as well as the NATO Medal.*
The 75th Ranger Regiment describes itself as a unique Special Operations Force,the Army's Premier Raid Force.Its specially selected and well-trained Soldiers are constantly tested for the privilege of serving in the Regiment.The 75th provides a range of capabilities not found in any other SOF or conventional force,conducting large-scale joint forcible entry operations while simultaneously executing surgical special operations raids across the globe.General Creighton Abrams created the Ranger Battalions in 1974 as an elite force setting the standards for the Army.