The U.S. Army ranger killed in action in Afghanistan on Thursday was Sgt. 1st Class Christopher A. Celiz, according to a press statement released Friday by Army Special Operations Command.
Celiz died after being wounded by enemy small arms fire during combat operations in Paktiya province in eastern Afghanistan. After sustaining injuries in battle, he “was treated immediately and medically evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility, where he died of his wounds.” (RELATED: US Special Operations Soldier Dies Of Wounds Sustained In Combat In Afghanistan)
Serving with Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment out of Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia, the battalion mortar platoon sergeant was on his fifth deployment with his regiment, seventh since he joined the armed forces, at the time of his death, the press statement revealed. He was posthumously awarded a Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.
“The 75th Ranger Regiment suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Sgt. 1st Class Chris Celiz. The Celiz family has been a critical component of our team and their community in Savannah, Georgia,” Col. Brandon Tegtmeier, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, said in a statement, further commenting, “Chris was a national treasure who led his Rangers with passion, competence, and an infectiously positive attitude no matter the situation. He will be greatly missed.”
He deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. When he was killed, he was fighting to advance Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Celiz’s death marks the second combat death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in a week and the fourth U.S. combat death in 2018. Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel was killed Saturday in an “insider attack” in central Afghanistan. (RELATED: Afghan Soldier Kills Army Serviceman In Insider Attack)
Lt. Col. Sean McGee, commander of the 75th’s 1st Battalion, described Celiz as a “loving husband and father,” stating that “Celiz led from the front and always put himself at the decisive point on the battlefield.”
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