The Department of Defense has identified three U.S. service members as the latest victims of the continued conflict in Afghanistan. Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin all died from injuries sustained in an IED explosion, according to the Pentagon. To make matters even more tragic, Ross was only recently married.
“Andrew and Eric were invaluable members and leaders in 3rd Special Forces Group and the special operations community. Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the families of these brave men,” said Col. Nathan Prussian, commander of 3rd Special Forces Group, according to Military.com.
In a separate statement, Army Special Operations Command noted that Ross was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Drew Ross was a friend. We prepped for Ranger School together
and went through in the same company. He was born to be a soldier and motivated the rest of us when we wanted to quit. Truly, he was one of the best people this country had to offer. He was recently married. https://t.co/CVcpHwYIdI
— James Hasson (@JamesHasson20) November 28, 2018
According to the official DoD release, the service members “died Nov. 27, 2018, from injuries sustained when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Andar, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.”
Emond and Elchin were both highly decorated combat specialists.
Emond had over 21 years of service under his belt, and was the recipient of 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 (2nd award), National Defense Service Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, and Combat Action Badge.
Emond was also posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.
Elchin was a special tactics combat controller who “advised the ground force commander, directed close-air support aircraft, and delivered destructive ordnance on enemy targets in support of offensive combat operations,” according to Military.com.
“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, in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dylan’s family, fiancée, and friends. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.”
Elchin’s awards included the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Combat Action 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.
Do pray for the families of these brave men as they grieve this unimaginable loss.