The circumstances surrounding the Dec. 31 death in Afghanistan of a Grafenwöhr, Germany-based soldier are under investigation, the Defense Department announced this week.

Staff Sgt. Anton R. Phillips was assigned to the 5th Maintenance Company, which falls under the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade.

DOD announced Phillips’ death only this week, offering no explanation as to why there was such a delay in releasing the information. Phillips died at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, according to the DOD release. While there, he was assigned to Company G (Forward Support), 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Task Force Wildhorse.

A U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, Col. Wayne Shanks, referred questions about Phillips to the Pentagon. Pentagon officials could not be reached Friday afternoon.

Phillips, 31, was from Inglewood, Calif., according to an entry published on the 82nd Sustainment Brigade’s blog, The Provider. More than 200 soldiers came to pay their respects to Phillips at a memorial ceremony Jan. 3 at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, the blog said.

A memorial service for Phillips was also held at Grafenwöhr on Jan. 7, according to a 21st TSC spokesman, Sgt. Maj. Cameron Porter.

The 5th Maintenance Company is deployed to Afghanistan, Porter said.

At the time of his death, Phillips was on his second deployment to Afghanistan, according to the 82nd Sustainment Brigade story, which also noted he is survived by three daughters.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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