The Pentagon has identified an Army Green Beret killed in Kunduz province, Afghanistan, on Sunday.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, died Monday from injuries sustained during combat operations the day prior, Army Special Operations Command said in a statement. Pentagon officials said the incident is under investigation.
Goble was a senior intelligence sergeant assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, which is based out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. This was his third deployment to Afghanistan, in addition to deployments to Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia and South Korea.
“Sgt. 1st Class Goble was more than just a member of the 7th Special Forces Group, he was a brother to us, and a beloved family member to the Northwest Florida community,” said Col. John W. Sannes, 7th Group commander, in a prepared statement.
“We will honor our brother’s sacrifice and provide the best possible care to his family. We ask that you keep his family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers," Sannes added.
There have been 17 American service members killed in combat in Afghanistan this year, of which 14 belonged to the Army, according to Defense Department figures. The number of wounded in action exceeds 180.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack after the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said over social media that a U.S. soldier was killed by an explosion in Kunduz. U.S. forces have also battled Islamic State militants in the country this year, some of whom are suspected of being disaffected Taliban.
U.S. and Taliban representatives are engaged in ongoing peace negotiations, which President Donald Trump previously ended in September following another Taliban attack that killed an Army paratrooper near Bagram Air Base. The talks were restarted earlier in December.
The death adds to what has already been the deadliest year in Afghanistan for U.S. troops since the drawdown in 2015.
Goble was born on Jan. 13, 1986, and raised in Westwood, New Jersey, according to the Army. He enlisted directly into the service as a Special Forces candidate in July 2004.
After completing basic training and Airborne School, Goble attended and later graduated from Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in February 2007.
Goble also deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. During those deployments, he served as a weapons sergeant. Goble then served as a sniper instructor from 2012 through 2016, before returning to 7th Group as an intelligence sergeant.
Over the course of his career, Goble attended a variety of Army schools, including Special Forces Sniper Course, basic and advanced Military Freefall Course, Military Freefall Advanced Tactical Insertion Course, Joint Armorer Course, Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant Course and Special Operations Force Surveillance Operator Course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor device, the Valorous Unit Award, the Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Basic Airborne and Military Free Fall Jumpmaster badges.
Currently, roughly 13,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Afghanistan, but there are hints that the number could go lower. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper told reporters last week that he is interested in reallocating troops used for Afghanistan operations to the Indo-Pacific region to confront China.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has 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.