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U.S. Air Force staff sergeant dies of 'natural causes' in Syria

By
Andrew V. Pestano
An Air Force Honor Guard bugler plays Taps at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on June 8. The Pentagon on Thursday announced that 25-year-old Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren died in a non-combat related incident in northern Syria on Tuesday while participating in the U.S. fight against the Islamic State. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
An Air Force Honor Guard bugler plays Taps at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on June 8. The Pentagon on Thursday announced that 25-year-old Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren died in a non-combat related incident in northern Syria on Tuesday while participating in the U.S. fight against the Islamic State. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has announced the death of a U.S. airman in Syria, saying the staff sergeant died in a non-combat related incident in the U.S. effort against the Islamic State.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, 25, of Umatilla, Ore., died on Tuesday in northern Syria while deployed in support of combat operations, the Pentagon said in a statement. Bieren was assigned to the 21st Space Wing at Colorado's Peterson Air Force Base. In its statement, the Pentagon said Bieren died of "natural causes."

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Bieren was operating under the U.S.-led international coalition -- named the Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve -- battling the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

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