During an operation on June 8 in Somalia, Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad, 26, a U.S. Special Operations commando was killed and four U.S. service members and “one partner force member” were wounded in an enemy attack, according to the Department of Defense.
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Conrad of Chandler, Arizona, was killed by “indirect” enemy fire as part of Operation Octave Shield, according to Reuters and U.S. Africa Command.
AFRICOM said the wounded Americans, who were not identified, were treated and discharged and are “under the care of the US Embassy Medical Team in Kenya as they await follow-on transportation for additional medical evaluation.”
The defense department said the incident is under investigation.
According to the Army Times, Conrad, born in Mesa, Arizona, joined the Army in June 2010 and after training, was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, as a human intelligence collector and he was twice deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Army Times said Conrad then studied French at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in 2016, and was then assigned to special forces as a “human intelligence noncommissioned officer,” according to USASOC.
In a statement from AFRICOM, it explained its special forces operations, in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, “continue to degrade the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda and its Somalia-based associated force, al-Shabaab, as well as the threat posed by ISIS in Somalia.”
U.S. military forces advise and assist regional forces, including Somali and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) partners, during counterterrorism operations. We will continue to work with our partners to support AMISOM and the Federal Government of Somalia in its effort to bring improved governance, development, and stability, the government said.
“Our strategy in East Africa is to build partner capacity to ensure that violent extremist organizations, who wish harm in the region, wish harm on the European continent, and ultimately wish to harm the United States, are contained,” said General Thomas Waldhauser of the U.S. Africa Command.
“Simply put, we’re working to prevent atrocious acts before they come to fruition.”
AFRICOM said the “desired end state in East Africa is one in which terrorist organizations are not able to destabilize Somalia or its neighbors or threaten the U.S. homeland, U.S. persons, or our international allies.”
U.S. Africa Command reported on June 1 forces “conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants approximately 30 miles southwest of Mogadishu, Somalia, on May 31, killing 12 terrorists.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff immediately until sunset Monday, June 11 to to honor Conrad’s life, service and sacrifice. Flags will also be lowered on the day of internment, which has not been set.
“The prayers and hearts of all of Arizona are with the family and loved ones of Staff Sergeant Conrad. He made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of his country, and we are forever grateful,” Ducey said in a statement. “In honor of Staff Sergeant Conrad’s life and service, I’ve ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff effective immediately.”