Army Rangers among 4 killed in Afghanistan; 2 awarded Bronze Star
An Army Criminal Investigative Command special agent based in Vicenza, Italy, was among four people killed Sunday in Zhari district, Afghanistan, by an improvised explosive device.
Sgt. Joseph Peters, 24, was assigned to the 286th Military Police Detachment and was assisting Special Forces when he was killed, according to CID spokesman Christopher Grey.
“CID Special Agents have specialized training and capabilities, such as evidence collection, that have proven to be invaluable to special operations forces,” Grey said. “That’s why our agent was with this team.”
Two of the other soldiers killed, Pfc. Cody Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore., and Sgt. Patrick Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., were with 3rd Battalion, the 75th Ranger Regiment. The final casualty was 1st. Lt. Jennifer Moreno, 25, a nurse from San Diego, working with the special operations cultural support team. She was assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Hawkins and Moreno were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for their actions during the attack.
Peters, from Springfield, Mo., is survived by his wife and 20-month-old son, according to a news release from U.S. Army Special Operations Command. It was his third deployment to a war zone since he joined the Army six years ago.
“We are all deeply saddened by the death of one of our own – Special Agent Joseph Peters,” wrote Maj. Gen. David Quantock, the Provost Marshal General of the United States Army and commander of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, in a statement. “Special Agent Peters was a highly respected agent and Soldier who sacrificed his life in the defense of this nation.”
Peters’ hometown paper, the Springfield News Leader, has reported that Peters’ family has not been provided death benefits due to the government shutdown. On Tuesday, members of Congress reportedly began searching for a budgetary stop-gap that would restore such benefits.
Army spokesmen said it is unclear yet whether a memorial will be held in Vicenza or in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where Peters’ parent unit, the 5th Military Police Battalion, is based.
According to the News Leader, Peters’ friends have set up a fund-raising site on fundrazr.com to benefit Peters’ wife and child.
Hawkins is survived by his wife, Brittanie, of Lansing, Kan., and his parents, Roy and Shelia Hawkins, who live in Carlisle.
The Fayetteville Observer reported Moreno was assigned to a joint special operations task force for her deployment, according to Army Special Operations Command. Moreno was on her first deployment to Afghanistan. She is survived by her mother, Marie V. Cordero, and her sisters, Jearaldy Moreno and Yaritza Cordova of San Diego. Her brother, Ivan Moreno, serves in the Army.
Patterson was born in Corvallis, Ore. and had been deployed to Afghanistan twice, Fort Benning officials said.
Fort Benning officials said his awards included the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Patterson is survived by his parents and sister.
The remains of all four servicemembers were to arrive at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was to be on hand for their arrival.