One of the three Army Green Berets killed in an insider attack last weekend in eastern Afghanistan served in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 1st Special Forces Group, the Defense Department announced today.
The Special Forces soldiers were conducting a firing range training exercise Saturday in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province, the Defense Department said. NATO last weekend said the attack was carried out by a gunman wearing the uniform of the Afghan security forces.
The attacker killed Spc. Joshua Strickland, 23, of Lewis-McChord’s 1st Special Forces Group, as well as Staff Sgt. Liam Nevins, 32, and Staff Sgt. Timothy McGill, 30, of the National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group.
Nevins, of Denver, was assigned to the 19th Group’s 5th Battalion in Colorado. McGill, of Ramsey, N.J., served in the 19th Group’s Rhode Island-based 2nd Battalion.
Strickland listed Woodstock, Ga. as his hometown. He joined the Army in June 2008 as a wheeled vehicle mechanic and was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group's support battalion that year. He is survived by his wife, his son and two daughters.
He was serving on first combat deployment, 1st Special Forces Group Deputy Commander Col. Max Carpenter said.
“He was a young man, a patriot, a father, a son and a part of our brotherhood,” Carpenter said.Strickland is the first fatal casualty reported from the base south of Tacoma since May 1.
More than 50 Western military service members were killed last year by turncoats or impostors in allied Afghan security forces. Lewis-McChord units lost at least four soldiers to those attacks last year, with three falling in an assault by Afghan police on an American observation post in September 2012 and another dying in October 2012 when a man wearing the uniform of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency detonated a suicide bomb near her.
The number of so-called green on blue attacks has tapered off this year as Afghan forces stepped up their efforts to screen out high-risk troops, Western security forces took more precautions to protect themselves, and many U.S. service members returned home.
Eleven Western military service members have been killed in insider attacks this year, according to data kept by the Long War Journal.
Lewis-McChord has suffered at total of four fatal casualties this year, three of whom were 1st Special Forces Group soldiers.