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Utah National Guard member killed in Afghanistan

By Ray Downs
Utah National Guard member killed in Afghanistan
U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, on June 10, 2017. On Thursday, the U.S. military announced Aaron Butler, a member of the Utah National Guard, was killed in action. Photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff/U.S. Marine Corps /UPI

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A member of the Utah National Guard was killed during a military operation in Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Thursday.

The slain soldier was identified as Aaron Butler, 27, his family confirmed to KSL-TV, Salt Lake City.

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"The Army values are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage," the Butler family said in a prepared statement. "Aaron Butler personified those values in everything he said and did. In a life that was all too brief, our dear son and brother made the ultimate sacrifice for his country."

The family added: "While we are heartbroken to become a gold star family, we honor Aaron's service and sacrifice. Aaron was a strength to us, an inspiration to those around him, and a joy to have in our family."

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Butler was killed during an operation "aimed at further reducing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan presence" in Afghanistan, according to Stars & Stripes.

"Syria-Khorasan" refers to the Central Asian Islamic State affiliate.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Butler and 11 other Utah Army National Guard members were clearing a building alongside the Afghan army when the structure exploded. The booby trap killed Butler and injured the others.

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Butler's death is the third U.S. combat fatality in Afghanistan this month.

On Sunday, Sgt. Roshain Euvince Brooks, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Spc. Allen Levi Stigler Jr., 22, of Arlington, Texas were killed.

Details of their death have not yet been released by the U.S. Army.

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Since the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan in 2001, there have been more than 2,400 American combat deaths.

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