The U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command has released the names of the two Green Berets who were killed Wednesday, Aug. 21, during combat operations in Faryab Province, in Afghanistan. The deaths came as U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad resumed negotiations with the Taliban aimed at ending America’s longest war, according to The Associated Press.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, were killed as a result of small arms fire in Faryab Province, located in the far northwest of Afghanistan along the border with Turkmenistan. Both were members of 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
They were posthumously promoted to master sergeant, ArmyTimes reported.
“It was an honor having them serve within the ranks of 7th SFG (A). They were a part of our family, and will not be forgotten,” Col. John W. Sannes, 7th Group commander, said in a statement.
Deleon-Figueroa is from Chicopee, Massachusetts, and served in the Army for more than 13 years. He became a Green Beret in 2014, and deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to South America. Previously, he had done tours in Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2010 as an infantry soldier.
DeLeon-Figueroa’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with valor device, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star and the NATO Medal. He received a Purple Heart.
During his career, DeLeon-Figueroa was a recipient of the Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Badge, Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge.
Gonzalez, a native of La Puente, California, first arrived at 7th Group’s 1st Battalion in 2014. His family requested that no photo or additional information be released at this time, Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, an Army Special Operations Command official, said in a statement.
“Our priority is to now provide the best possible care to the families of our fallen warriors. We ask that you keep their families and teammates in your thoughts and prayers,” Col. Sannes said.