The Defense Department has identified an Army Special Forces soldier killed in action Monday.
Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, 41, was killed in action by small arms fire during combat operations in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, Army officials announced Tuesday morning.
Griffin, who was from Greenbrier, Tennessee, served as a Special Forces communications sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He was on his fourth combat deployment.
The Army chief of staff and sergeant major of the Army said Tuesday that they were planning to meet with Griffin’s family Thursday morning.
“He was a father, he was a husband, he was a son, he was a Green Beret and he was an American hero,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told reporters.
“As far as Afghanistan goes, we’re going to continue to work with our Afghan partners to make sure that the conditions are set for a possible political solution,” McConville added. “We went there for a reason, and we’re going to continue to conduct operations to make sure Afghanistan is no longer a sanctuary for any type of terrorists that want to attack the United States.”
Griffin was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart. His death brings the number of U.S. troops killed in action in Afghanistan this year to 17, according to Defense Department figures. More than 100 other American personnel have been wounded in combat in 2019.
“The loss of Sgt. 1st Class Griffin is felt across the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Family and the entire Special Forces community,” Col. Owen G. Ray, commander, 1st Special Forces Group said in a statement.
“He was a warrior — an accomplished, respected and loved Special Forces Soldier that will never be forgotten. We ask that you keep his Family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers," Ray added.
A defense official told Army Times that there are no indications the attack was a green-on-blue incident.
Griffin was born in Cristobal, Panama, on Dec. 7, 1978, and enlisted into the U.S. Army on April 6, 2004, according to an Army Special Operations Command press release.
The toll on U.S. special operators and their enablers is on a pace to be worse than last year.
Griffin was previously assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and 7th Special Forces Group before he attended and graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course on September 18, 2014.
Griffin had deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2009. He deployed again to Afghanistan in 2016 with 1st Group, as well as served on an overseas rotation to Korea in 2018.
His death comes after peace talks between U.S. diplomats and the Taliban broke down earlier this month, and amid warnings from the top U.S. general for NATO that he expects increased violence in Afghanistan as that country’s elections draw nearer.
The many schools Griffin graduated from included the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s Basic Korean Course; Ranger School; Basic and Advanced Military Free Fall Parachutist Course; Military Freefall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course; Special Operations Joint Terminal Attack Controller Course; and the Special Forces Intelligence Sergeants Course.
Griffin’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars; the Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars; the Korea Defense Service Medal; the Parachutist Badge; Master Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge; Combat Infantry Badge; Combat Action Badge; Ranger and Army Special Forces Tabs.