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Pentagon identifies Green Beret killed in Afghanistan

Sgt. Maj. James G. "Ryan" Sartor, 40, a Special Forces company sergeant major from Teague, Texas, was killed July 13, 2019, in Faryab Province, Afghanistan.

COURTESY OF U.S. ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 13, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan — Green Beret Sgt. Maj. James G. Sartor, who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, died Saturday from injuries sustained from enemy fire in northern Afghanistan, the Pentagon said in a statement Sunday.

Sartor, 40, of Teague, Texas, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), out of Fort Carson, Colo., and was supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

The incident, which is still under investigation, occurred in Faryab province, the Pentagon said.

"We're incredibly saddened to learn of Sgt. Maj. James "Ryan" Sartor's passing in Afghanistan. Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional," Col. Brian R. Rauen, the group's commander, said in a statement issued by the Army’s Special Operations Command. "He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed.”

Sartor joined the Army in June 2001 and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division as an infantryman. He completed the Special Forces qualification course and was assigned to the 10th SFG in 2005.

He deployed to Iraq as an infantryman in 2002, and as a Green Beret assigned to the 10th SFG’s 2nd Battalion in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He also deployed to Afghanistan with the unit in 2017.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces have been fighting the Taliban in Faryab, which has seen an uptick in insurgent activity in recent years. In addition to providing advice and training, American troops accompany Afghan special forces on certain operations.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, visited Faryab earlier in the week to speak with local officials about the security situation there, NATO’s Resolute Support mission said.

Sartor’s death comes less than a month after two American troops were killed by small-arms fire in southern Uruzgan province and brings to 12 the number of U.S. servicemembers killed in Afghanistan this year. All but two were combat-related.

More than 2,400 American military personnel have been killed since the war began and more than 20,000 others have been wounded.

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is now in its 18th year. Some 14,000 American troops are deployed there and are engaged in counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida and Islamic State fighters and in training and advising Afghan security forces.

Sartor's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

His posthumous awards include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com
Twitter: @pwwellman

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