The deceased who were identified include two U.S. service members and one Defense Intelligence Agency civilian.
Another U.S. civilian working as a contractor has not been officially identified.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Farmer, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent and DoD civilian Scott Wirtz died Wednesday in Manbij, Syria, as a result of wounds sustained from a suicide improvised explosive device.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its propaganda agency immediately following the incident.
Wirtz, 42, was from St. Louis, Missouri. He was a former Navy SEAL assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as a civilian operations support specialist. He had been working in that role, overseeing human intelligence collection, since February 2017, and deployed multiple times.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this patriot,” DIA Director Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, Jr., said. “This is a stark reminder of the dangerous missions we conduct for the nation and of the threats we work hard to mitigate. As President Lincoln described on the fields at Gettysburg, this officer gave the last full measure of devotion”
Wirtz’s military awards and decorations include the SEAL Insignia, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon and Pistol Expert Medal. His DIA awards include the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism.
“We are thankful for the dedicated men and women of DIA who continue to put themselves in harm’s way to keep the nation safe,” Ashley said. “Our adversaries never grow tired, so our mission to provide seamless battlefield intelligence, which includes the deployment of DIA personnel to combat zones, never stops.”
Farmer, 37, was an Army Green Beret from Boynton Beach, Florida. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Farmer joined the Army on March 30, 2005. He graduated in 2007 from the Special Forces Qualification Course as an engineer sergeant and was assigned to 5th Group, where he remained throughout his career.
Farmer was selected to attend the Special Forces Warrant Officer Candidate School, where he earned his commission in 2016.
Farmer served on six overseas combat tours. Twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2007 and January 2009; once in support of Operation New Dawn in August 2010; once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in January 2012; and twice in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in January 2018 and January 2019 until his passing.
Farmer’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with “C” Device, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon with one campaign star, the Iraqi Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Special Forces Tab, the Parachutist Badge and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
He is survived by his spouse, four children, and his parents.
The second Navy service member, 35-year-old Kent, was from upstate New York. She was assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, based out of Fort Meade, Maryland. Kent enlisted on Dec. 11, 2003.
Kent is the first U.S. female service member killed in combat against ISIS since the U.S.-led coalition began battling the terror group in 2014.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and teammates of Chief Petty Officer Kent during this extremely difficult time. She was a rock star, an outstanding chief petty officer, and leader to many in the Navy Information Warfare Community,” Cmdr. Joseph Harrison, commanding officer of CWA 66, said in a statement.
Among her many schools, she was a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.
She was a recipient of two Joint Service Commendation Medals, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, and a Joint Service Achievement Medal.
Kent also held an Iraq Campaign Medal and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
“Chief Kent’s drive, determination and tenacity were infectious. Although she has left us way too soon, she will not be forgotten, and her legacy will live on with us,” Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician Denise Vola, CWA 66′s command senior enlisted leader, said.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.