The Department of Defense has identified two Fort Bragg soldiers and an Air Force airman who were killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
They are Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29, of Lexington, Virginia; Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.
Ross and Emond were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. Elchin was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.
DOD officials said the service members died after their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Andar, Ghazni province.
All three were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, DOD officials said.
They were killed in an area where the Taliban is resurgent. It was the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year, the Associated Press reported.
The incident is under investigation.
“Andrew and Eric were invaluable members and leaders in 3rd Special Forces Group and the special operations community,” said Col. Nathan Prussian, commander of the 3rd Special Forces Group. “Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the families of these brave men.”
Ross served more than seven years in the Army. This was his second overseas tour, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a Special Forces spokesman.
He is survived by his wife and parents.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2nd award), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Action Badge, Combat Infantry Badge and Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge.
Emond had more than 21 years of military service, which included the Marine Corps and the Army. This was his seventh overseas tour, Bymer said.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3rd award), Purple Heart (2nd award), Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, NATO Achievement Medal (2nd award), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (4th award), NATO Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge and Combat Action Badge. Emond was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.
Elchin was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 720th Special Tactics Group, 24th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command. He was a special tactics combat controller trained for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.
He deployed to Afghanistan in August and was embedded with an Army Special Operations Force team, Air Force officials said.
It was his first deployment.
His role was to advise the ground force commander, direct close air support aircraft and deliver destructive ordnance on enemy targets.
“Dylan had an unusual drive to succeed and contribute to the team. He displayed maturity and stoicism beyond his years, and was always level-headed, no matter the situation,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Walsh, commander of the 26th Special Tactics Squadron. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dylan’s family, fiancee and friends. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.”
Elchin enlisted in the Air Force on Aug. 7, 2012, shortly after graduating from Hopewell High School in Pennsylvania.
His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Force NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon and NATO Medal.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents Fort Bragg, called the service members “heroes who will be deeply missed but never forgotten” in a statement released by his office.
“My wife Renee and I join our country in mourning the deaths of Sergeant First Class Eric M. Emond, Captain Andrew P. Ross, and Staff Sergeant Dylan J. Elchin” Hudson said. “We send our sincere condolences to their families, and our thoughts are with the entire Special Forces community during this tough time. We pray for God’s peace, comfort and healing and for full recoveries for the other Americans who were injured.”
Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at email@example.com or 910-486-3528.
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