Sept. 18 (UPI) — The Pentagon identified the Green Beret killed Monday in Afghanistan as Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin.
Griffin, 40, of Greenbrier, Tenn., was killed by small arms fire while engaged in combat operations in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday.
Griffin had been assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
It was his fourth combat deployment, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said in a statement.
“The loss of Sgt. 1st Class Griffin is felt across the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Family and the entire Special Forces community,” said Col. Owen G. Ray, commander of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). “He was a warrior — an accomplished, respected and loved Special Forces Soldier that will never be forgotten.”
Griffin was born in Cristobal, Panama, Dec. 7, 1978, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004. During his career, he had assignments in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) before joining Special Forces.
Griffin is the 17th U.S. service member to die in Afghanistan this year, which is the highest number of deaths since 2014.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
Griffin’s death comes after Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, was killed along with 11 other people in a Taliban suicide attack earlier this month in the Middle Eastern country.
Trump said his death was the reason for the cancellation of peace talks between the Taliban and the United States that appeared to be nearing completion.
On Sunday, Trump said the United States had increased attacks on the militant group in response to the attack.
“The Taliban has never been hit harder than it is being hit right now,” he said via Twitter. “Killing 12 people, including one great American soldier, was not a good idea.”
The number of attacks attributed to the Taliban has increased in the run-up to presidential elections in Afghanistan.