Highly-Decorated Special Forces Soldier Dies in Combat in Afghanistan

A highly-decorated Special Forces company sergeant was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan on Saturday, military officials revealed on Saturday.

Sgt. Maj. James G. "Ryan" Sartor, 40, died in Afghanistan's northern Faryab Province during combat operations, the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement.

"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," said Col. Brian R. Rauen, commander of 10th Group. “He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed."

Sartor, of Teague, Texas, was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group in Fort Carson, Colorado. He first joined the Army in June 2001 and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division as an infantryman. After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course, he was assigned to 10th SFA (A) in 2005. The 40-year-old combat veteran was deployed multiple times, including Iraq as an infantryman in 2002. As a Green Beret, he was deployed in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 with 2nd Battalion, 10th Group. He served in Afghanistan twice - once in 2017 and again in 2019.

Sartor was a highly-decorated soldier with his awards and decorations including; the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster and National Defense Service Medal, among others. He will also receive a posthumous Purple Heart and Bronze Star, Bymer added.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001. Currently, around 8,400 troops remain in country.

Photo: U.S. Army

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