The soldiers killed Thursday in Afghanistan have been identified as two Fort Benning, Georgia-based Rangers, according to a Friday release from the Defense Department.
Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, 22, and Sgt. Cameron Thomas, 23, were killed by small arms fire during dismounted operations in Nangarhar Province; they are the second and third special operations soldiers to die in counter-ISIS operations there this month.
The incident is under investigation, the release said.
Rodgers was a team leader with C Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He was on his third deployment to Afghanistan, according to a U.S. Army Special Operations Command bio.
The Normal, Illinois, native enlisted in 2013. Following infantry school, airborne school and Ranger selection, he joined his unit in May 2014.
Rodgers previously served as a machine gunner, semi-automatic gunner and gun team leader.
Thomas was an anti-armor specialist in 3rd Battalion’s D Company. He enlisted in early 2012 and also moved straight from basic training to the Ranger Regiment, where he previously served as an automatic rifleman and grenadier.
A third soldier, who has not been identified, was wounded in the same attack. A U.S. military spokesman in Kabul on Thursday said that soldier did not require medical evacuation. Navy Capt. William Salvin characterized the injury as minor.
Army special operations soldiers have been fighting ISIS elements in Afghanistan since earlier this year as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
The incident Wednesday night and into Thursday morning local time occurred in Nangarhar’s Achin district, which has become a stronghold for the group known as ISIS Khorasan. The Rangers were partnered with Afghan forces on a raid that was part of Operation Hamza, a campaign that began in early March to root out ISIS-K fighters, officials said.
On April 10, Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar was killed in the same area of Afghanistan.
Rodgers’ body is scheduled to arrive at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Friday afternoon, according to a release Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations.