Decorated Green Beret killed in Afghanistan attack
BÖBLINGEN, Germany — A 25-year-old Green Beret based in Stuttgart died Saturday during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Patrick F. Kutschbach of Company B, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was a weapons sergeant with Operational Detachment Alpha Team 021.
Kutschbach was conducting combat operations with his team when his vehicle was attacked with rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire, according to press releases from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
The attack occurred when Kutschbach was working in the southern part of the much-contested Tagab Valley in Kapisa province, about 30 miles north of Kabul, the Afghan capital. He deployed earlier this year as a member of the International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan.
Two other soldiers with Kutschbach’s unit were wounded in the attack and are currently hospitalized at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, officials said. The incident occurred during a patrol with Afghan forces. Maj. Kelley Smith of 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group said that the Americans were in a Humvee, which was hit by enemy fire.
Kutschbach had deployed on previous operations, but this was his first deployment to Afghanistan, according to the command.
Kutschbach enlisted in the Army in October 2003 and attended infantry basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. He attended the Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg, N.C., and became a Green Beret in 2004. He was assigned to his current unit in December 2006.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
At least 102 U.S. troops have been killed in action this year in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press, making this the deadliest year there for Americans since the 2001 invasion.
Kutschbach was a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks, Pa. He was a 2000 graduate of Montour High School in Robinson Township, where he was an all-state volleyball player.
A memorial service has been tentatively scheduled for Nov. 27 in the Stuttgart area, but the location and time have not been decided, according to a spokeswoman from the U.S. European Command.
Kutschbach is survived by his wife, Ginger; son, Bastian; father, David; mother, Debbie Huffner; and brothers David and Andrew.