The two Amerian soldiers killed in northern Afghanistan this past Friday have been identified by the Pentagon and both are from Ft. Carson, Colorado.
Green Beret SFC Will D. Lindsay, 33, and SP4 Joseph P. Collette, 29, died from wounds by small arms fire sustained during combat operations in Kunduz province, Afghanistan according to U.S. officials in Afghanistan.
Kunduz was the scene of heavy fighting back in 2015. The Taliban attacked the city and took it from Afghan forces in late September. Afghan government troops aided by U.S. Special Forces retook the city but at great cost to themselves and the civilians there. One hospital staffed by “Doctors without Borders” was hit by fire from an AC-130 gunship and destroyed which supposedly killed 42 people.
Lindsay was assigned to the 2nd Bn. 10th Special Forces Group and is from Cortez, Colorado, while Collette, originally from Lancaster, Ohio was assigned to the 242nd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group.
According to SOCOM spokesman LTC Loren Bymer, Lindsay enlisted in the Army in July 2004. He graduated Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) in July 2006 and was assigned to 10th SFG.
Lindsay’s deployments include five tours to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn; to Tajikistan in 2016 supporting the Counter-Narcotics Terrorism mission; and Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
He attended both static-line and military free-fall parachute training. He also graduated from several other special operations training programs, including the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, (SOTIC or Sniper Course) and the Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant Course.
Lindsay’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, a Purple Heart, the NATO Medal, the Special Forces Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge and the Chilean Airborne Wings.
Colonel Lawrence Ferguson, the commander of the 10th SFG said the entire command was saddened upon hearing the grim news.
“Will was one of the best in our formation, with more than a decade of service in the Regiment at all levels of noncommissioned officer leadership,” Ferguson said. “We will focus now on supporting his family and honoring his legacy and sacrifice.”
Collette, was on his first deployment to Afghanistan but had been in the military for nine years. He and his wife had just been married in December. Colonel David Green, the commander of the 71st EOD Group passed along his condolences to Collette’s extended family.
“The 71st Ordnance Group is deeply saddened by the loss of Spc. Joseph P. Collette,” the unit’s commander Col. David Green said in a released statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends.”
His widow Caela posted to her Facebook account of his death. “For those of you who don’t know, Joey was killed in action last night while serving our country,” she wrote. “I have no words but so many words at the same time. He was my best friend and I’m so lost without him right now.”
Lindsay was also married and is survived by his wife and four daughters.
EOD technicians often work with Special Operations units, clearing IEDs and roadside bombs that insurgents place in areas where Americans or coalition troops patrol in. Reportedly, the unit was in a firefight with Taliban forces when the two Americans as well as on Afghan soldier were killed in the fighting.
Then, American and coalition Afghan forces began firing accidentally on one another and an airstrike was called in where Afghan civilians were killed. The incident is under investigation. There have been four combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2019 after 13 in 2018 as well as two non-combat related fatalities.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is trying to come to a peace agreement with the Taliban where the United States can end the longest war in its history. But while negotiations are on-going, both sides push against one another to gain an advantage.
Photos: US Army