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Army identifies soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday

Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, 24

U.S. ARMY

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 12, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Pentagon on Tuesday identified a soldier who was killed in eastern Afghanistan this week.

Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska, died Monday from injuries sustained in a non-combat vehicle accident in Nangarhar province, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Brabander was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

“Just yesterday, we were reminded of the constant danger our United States, coalition and afghan partners are in every day here in Afghanistan,” Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch, chief of future operations at the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, told reporters earlier Tuesday. “We send our most heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Brabander, an airborne infantryman, enlisted in the Army in March 2012 and was assigned to U.S. Army Alaska in November 2015 after previously serving in Hawaii, the command said in an emailed statement. A squad leader, he deployed to Afghanistan with the brigade in September.

Two other servicemembers wounded in what officials have described as a “vehicle incident” were taken to a medical facility for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, Bunch said. Six others in the vehicle were being evaluated for possible traumatic brain injuries.

The death is the fourth non-combat fatality of a U.S. servicemember supporting the Afghanistan mission this year, including one at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

There have been 11 U.S. combat deaths in the country this year — seven in Nangarhar province where U.S. troops are supporting Afghan forces battling a local branch of Islamic State — and two other coalition combat fatalities.

Not much is known about the accident, which Afghan media described as a “traffic incident,” based on the military statement.

A provincial official in Nangarhar province said earlier Tuesday that no traffic accidents involving Americans had been reported and that the U.S. had not informed them about the event.

The Pentagon said it is investigating.

Troops with 3rd Battalion were in eastern Afghanistan supporting 10th Special Forces Group and their Afghan partners, according to a unit newsletter posted to Facebook earlier this month.

Some platoons supporting the Green Berets were spending up to three weeks at remote outposts and all had conducted combat operations during the month of November, the newsletter said.
 

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

garland.chad@stripes .com
Twitter: @chadgarland
 

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