A soldier died Sunday from injuries he suffered in a blast in Afghanistan last month, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary, 24, died at a base in Germany after an improvised explosive device detonated Nov. 27 while McClary was with the U.S. Army in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, officials said in a news release.
Three others, Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, were killed during the explosion.
“The Rock battalion expresses its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends tragically affected by the loss of Sgt. Jason McClary,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Roberts, commander of 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment. “He epitomizes what it is to be a professional, a warrior and a soldier. Sgt. McClary served honorably as an up-armored vehicle gunner for the Attack Company. His memory and contributions will never be forgotten.”
A gunner is the soldier who mans a dedicated gun position on a military vehicle.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered flags at the Capitol Complex and other state facilities fly at half-staff in honor of McClary. The flags will remain in that position until sunset on the date of his interment.
“Sgt. McClary gave the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his country and, for that, we will be forever grateful,” Wolf said.
McClary was based out of Fort Carson, Colo., where he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
He attended Kiski Area High School and Northern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center, where he took machine tool technology classes and graduated in 2013, according to a secretary at the New Kensington technical school.
Westmoreland County records indicate he married Lillie Ashbaugh on Nov. 14, 2013, in a ceremony officiated by a district judge. The couple has two young sons.
He enlisted in the Army on Jan. 21, 2014, according to military records.
McClary served in Iraq for seven months in 2016 and had deployed to Afghanistan in April. He had several military medals, including two Purple Hearts.
McClary is the second local soldier to be killed by the roadside bomb. The body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Beaver County, returned to the United States on Friday.
The pair are among four service members who were killed by the device in Ghazni province, 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 Taliban claimed responsibility.
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