PRESS RELEASE: Three Soldiers die from IED blast
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Feb. 5, 2010) – Three Army Special Operations Soldiers died of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device in the Lower Dir District of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province, Feb. 3.
Sergeant 1st Class David J. Hartman and Sgt. 1st Class Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller, 96th Civil Affairs Bn., 95th Civil Affairs Bde., and Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets Jr., from 8th Psychological Operations Bn., 4th Psychological Operations Group were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
They were among the U.S. military personnel in Pakistan to conduct training at the invitation of the Pakistan Frontier Corps, according to a U.S. Central Command press release. They were in Lower Dir to attend the inauguration ceremony of a girls’ school that had recently been renovated with U.S. humanitarian assistance.
“Both Matthew and David are heroes in my mind — they volunteered to come to Army Special Operations and the 95th Civil Affairs Bde. (Airborne), they both believed in what they were doing, and they were committed to helping people in a place where violence against innocent populations was too often commonplace,” said Col. Michael J. Warmack, commander, 95th Civil Affairs Bde. “In the pursuit of what they believed, they made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mrs. Melissa Sluss-Tiller and her daughter Hannah, and to Mrs. Cherise Hartman and her son Michael,” he said. (Full statement)
Hartman, 27, was a native of Merced, Calif. He is survived by his pregnant wife Cherise of Rosamond, Calif., and their son Michael. He is also survived by his parents, Greg and Mikail Hartman of Merced. (bio)
Sluss-Tiller, 35, was from Ashland, Ky. He is survived by his wife, Melissa and daughter Hannah of Sanford, N.C., father Edward Tiller of Sevierville, Tenn., and mother and stepfather, Jane and Forest Blankenship also of Sanford. (bio)
Both Soldiers were civil affairs senior non-commissioned officers and had previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the war on terror.
Stets, 39, is survived by his wife, Nina, and daughters, Jessica, December, and Rachael, of Fayetteville, N.C. He was a native of California. (bio)
From his bio: Staff Sgt. Stets was a senior psychological operations (PSYOP) sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 8th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. … His military education includes the Psychological Operations Qualification Course, Defense Language Institute, Warrior Leaders Course, Equal Opportunity Staff Officer Course, and U.S. Army Airborne School.
This was his second deployment in support of OEF. He also served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Stets was a senior psychological operations sergeant.
The incident is under investigation.
See Also: U.S. military deaths in Pakistan
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