The Pentagon has released the identities of the three US Army troops killed in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,Afghanistan on 10 June 2017.They were on a counterterrorism mission with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces against ISIL-K at the time of the incident,which is being considered an attack by an enemy infiltrator,or green-on-blue attack.The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for it.
All three Americans were members of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell,Kentucky.Those killed were:
Sergeant Erick M. Houck,25,of Baltimore,Maryland;Sergeant William M. Bays,29,of Barstow,California;and Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge,22,of Youngsville,North Carolina.
The Soldiers were serving in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team,and two of them were "Rakkasans" of the 187th Infantry Regiment,having been deployed in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in the fall of 2016.Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell,Major General Andrew Poppas,said of the incident:
We take this as a family loss.In the days ahead,the 101st Soldiers and the Rakkasans will continue the fight against terrorism with unbridled determination.Our Soldiers are battle-hardened and committed to the defence of our nation and the freedoms for which we fight.*
SGT Houck was a forward observer in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery,320th Field Artillery Regiment,assigned as a Fire Support Sergeant,having joined the Army in 2013.His awards include:Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster;Army Superior Unit Award;and the Army Good Conduct Medal,as well as the NATO Medal and Air Assault Badge.*
SGT Bays was an Infantryman in Company D,1st Battalion,187th Infantry Regiment.He was assigned as a Squad Leader,having joined the Army in 2009.His awards include:the Meritorious Unit Commendation;Army Good Conduct Medal;National Defense Service Medal;as well as the NATO Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster,Air Assault Badge and the Driver and Mechanic Badge.*
CPL Baldridge was an Infantryman in Company D,1st Battalion,187th Infantry Regiment,and was assigned as a Squad Leader,having joined the Army in February 2013.His awards include the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters;the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal;Army Commendation Medal,as well as the NATO Medal and Expert Infantryman Badge.*
All three Soldiers received various posthumous medals,among them the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals.CPL Baldridge was,in addition,posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant.*
"Rakkasans" is a nickname for the 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.It was received in occupied Japan after World War II when a translator was explaining to a local official what kind of troops they were.It is the Japanese word for "parachute men."