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The U.S. soldier killed earlier this week in Afghanistan was assigned to a Special Forces unit and on a supply mission when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Sgt. 1st Class James S. Ochsner, 36, of Waukegan, Ill., died in Orgun on Nov. 15. He was assigned to the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

Ochsner was an 18-year veteran of the Army and was scheduled to rotate out of Afghanistan next week, officials said. It was his fourth tour to Afghanistan.

“He was going out to distribute some goods to the local people,” his father, Bob Ochsner, told the Chicago Sun Times. “He loved the Afghan people; he really enjoyed them.”

James Ochsner had a wife and two children, officials said. His wife and brother also serve in the Army, and his father is an Army veteran.

“He was devil-may-care, the jokester, a great kid. Both my sons were gifted children. Jim had a gifted IQ, but he had a hard time getting C’s and B’s in school. But in Special Forces in language school, he was first in his class in Arabic,” Bob Ochsner told reporters.

Ochsner, like many other Special Forces members, was doing six-month rotations in and out of Afghanistan.

More than 200 U.S. servicemembers have been killed in and around Afghanistan since the Oct. 2001 invasion.


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