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Special Forces Soldier killed in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan


Late yesterday, the Department of Defense announced the death of a United States Soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Butler, 27, of Monticello, Utah, died Aug. 16, 2017, in Nangarhar Province of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations.

There was no information available regarding other troops who might have been injured in the same incident. The incident is under investigation by the military.

SSG Butler was assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Camp Williams, Utah, Utah National Guard.

Currently there are over 8,000 troops and an unknown number of defense contractors advising, assisting and providing security in Afghanistan.  There are several fighting factions in the region to include the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS-Khorasan.

SSG Butler’s death is the eleventh of 2017, surpassing the death toll of 10 for all of 2016.

Additional information regarding Staff Sgt. Butler, including commendations and previous deployments,  is available to media sources by contacting Ileen Kennedy, Utah National Guard, at 801-432-4229 or

The Department of Defense has yet to release the names of five U.S. Soldiers who were killed when their Blackhawk helicopter went down off the coast of Oahu earlier this week.  All Soldiers are presumed dead.  The Blackhawk was based out of Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

National Guard units across the U.S. prepare for total eclipse


Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown was among the first in the U.S. to put National Guard units on notice to respond to any type of unforeseen emergencies during Monday’s eclipse.  One million people are expected to visit Oregon during this once-in-a lifetime event.  Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina is following suit because likewise, the coastal state is expecting up to one million Eclipse Watchers.  Some five million people are expected to watch the Aug. 21., eclipse someplace other than their home.

The total eclipse will begin its trek across the United States in Lincoln City, Oregon, and end in Charleston, South Carolina.  In all, parts of 14 states will experience the “totality” of the darkness when the moon passes fully in front of the sun.

Since a certain amount of craziness and tomfoolery is expected, law enforcement and National Guard units are prepared.  Crowd control and traffic congestion in the most populated areas will be the number one concern.  Anytime masses get together, there will be the usual and customary “bar fights” from revelers who know they will never see another total eclipse and celebrate the event with more than one can of beer.

While it’s not likely in South Carolina, the Oregon Guard is prepared to rescue watchers who might fall from a cliff.  In all states, snake bites, dehydration, heart attacks, possible drownings, and even early births could be experienced.  For that, the Air National Guard as well as the Coast Guard will be on standby for search-and-rescue and air evacuations.

Parts of Oregon’s wilderness will be off limits to eclipse watchers due to wildfires in the state.

In areas where the totality will be experienced, schools are scheduled to be closed, mass transit lines will shut down, and government offices will shutter their doors.  Ostensibly, the closures have been called “precautionary safety measures.”  In reality, the likelihood that the government wants to shift any potential liability issues into the private sector is probably more accurate.

Those who wish to look directly at the eclipse are advised to wear specifically approved solar glasses.  In some areas, those glasses are in short supply.  Amazon recalled or cancelled orders for solar glasses they suspected of not meeting safety standards.

Identities released of two 82nd Airborne Soldiers killed in Northern Iraq


This afternoon, the Pentagon announced the death of two Soldiers who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. Both Soldiers died Aug. 13, 2017, of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations in Northern Iraq.

Killed in the incident were Sgt. Roshain Euvince Brooks, 30, of Brooklyn, New York, and Spc. Allen Levi Stigler Jr., 22, of Arlington, Texas.

The Soldiers were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Army W.T.F. Moments published this on their site earlier today:    

Two 82nd Airborne paratroopers with C Battery, 2-319 AFAR deployed west of Mosul died Sunday when an artillery shell exploded as it was fired from a M777 howitzer. Five more paratroopers were hurt with three medevaced to Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center Hospital to receive treatment, and two more were treated on site and expected to return to duty soon.

According to eyewitnesses the gun in question had fired two counterfire rounds in support of Kurdish forces and was in the process of firing a third when the explosion happened, killing one paratrooper instantly and injuring six more. A second paratrooper would succumb to his injuries soon after. Observers also reported the 2nd round landing short of target prior to the third round being fired.

The incident is under investigation by the military.

Additional information on this tragic incident is available to media sources by contacting LTC Joe Buccino, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs, at (910) 432-6189, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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