The Department of Defense identified the two Special Forces soldiers on Sunday who were killed from wounds sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Javier J. Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio R. Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, died on February 8 as they engaged a gunman in an Afghan Army uniform. Fox News reports six others were wounded during the attack.
Both men were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
"Sgt. 1st Class Gutierrez was a warrior that exemplified selfless service and a commitment to the mission, both values that we embody here in the 7th Special Forces Group. Our priority now is to take care of his family and teammates, we will provide the best possible care possible during these trying times," Col. John W. Sannes, 7th Special Forces Group Commander said about Gutierrez.
"Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez was selfless and served honorably; he was certainly among the best in our unit," Sannes said about Rodriguez. "Here at the Red Empire, we take care of our own, and Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez’ family will forever be a part of us, we will assist them in any way we can to help them through these trying times."
Gutierrez enlisted into the Army in 2009 and had deployed once to Iraq when he was assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and once to Afghanistan. Rodriguez enlisted into the Army in 2009 and had recently re-classified as a Cryptologic Linguist for Spanish. Rodriguez was on his tenth deployment to Afghanistan, going eight times with the 75th Ranger Regiment and twice with the Green Berets.
Gutierrez and Rodriguez were both posthumously promoted to Sgt. 1st Class and awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
Their deaths bring the number of U.S. service members to be killed in Afghanistan to four this year. Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia and Pfc. Miguel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois were killed in January when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Kandahar Province.