Army Posthumously Promotes Two Green Berets Killed in Afghanistan

Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa, 31, was killed Aug. 21 during combat operations in Faryab province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army)
Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa, 31, was killed Aug. 21 during combat operations in Faryab province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army)

Two Special Forces soldiers killed Wednesday in Afghanistan during combat operations have been posthumously promoted, officials announced Thursday.

Master Sgts. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa, 31, and Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, died in Faryab province, Afghanistan, at the country's northern border with Turkmenistan, according to a release from U.S. Special Operations Command. They died of wounded sustained from small arms fire due to combat operations, according to a Pentagon release. The incident is under investigation.

Both men belonged to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The soldiers were posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant, officials said.

Deleon-Figueroa, of Chicopee, Mass., had deployed six times during a career that spanned more than 13 years, according to information provided by SOCOM. His deployments included tours to Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army infantryman, and to South America and Afghanistan as a Green Beret. He was on his third deployment to Afghanistan.

His awards included the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Badge, Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge.

Gonzalez, of La Puente, California, had been with 7th Special Forces Group since 2014. At his family's request, no additional information about him is being released, officials said.

"It was an honor having them serve within the ranks of 7th SFG (A). They were a part of our family, and will not be forgotten," Col. John W. Sannes, the unit's commander, said in a statement. "Our priority is to now provide the best possible care to the families of our fallen warriors. We ask that you keep their families and teammates in your thoughts and prayers."

Deleon-Figueroa and Gonzalez are the 13th and 14th U.S. service members to die in hostile circumstances in Afghanistan in 2019, now the deadliest year since the drawdown of formal combat operations in 2014.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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