A 21-year-old American soldier has died during a non-combat related incident in northeastern Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense announced on Thursday that Spc. Branden Tyme Kimball, from Central Point, Oregon, was killed on Wednesday at Bagram Airfield. The incident that led to his death is under investigation.
Kimball worked as an aircraft structural repairer and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. The unit is based out of Fort Drum, New York.
Kimball joined the army in August 2016 and completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training prior to joining the 10th Mountain Division.
The soldier was part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, an ongoing effort by the United States to train and assist Afghan defense and security forces, and to conduct counterterrorism operations against what’s left of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Spc. Branden Kimball during this very difficult time,” Lt. Col. Kamil Sztalkoper said in a statement to Military.com.
“The loss of any Mountain soldier has a lasting impact on every member of the team,” he added. “The 10th Mountain Division mourns the loss of Spc. Kimball, he will be missed from our formations.”
According to American Military News, Kimball was given a number of awards throughout his service: the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Army Service Ribbon.
Kimball is survived by his mother.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday directed flags on all state buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday in honor of Kimball.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest sympathy to Spc. Branden Kimball’s loved ones,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are devastated by his loss and join his fellow soldiers, his family, and his friends in honoring his service to our nation. His death is a reminder of the sacrifices members of the military make to protect the freedoms and the values that this state and this nation were founded upon.”
Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. of the U.S. Marines issued a statement on behalf of the U.S. Central Command expressing condolences after news of Kimball’s death.
“Kimball’s service to our nation will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fellow soldiers,” McKenzie wrote.
American military newspaper Stars and Stripes says the latest death brings the count of American service members who died in Afghanistan this year to seven—four of which were combat-related.
Among the deaths were two U.S. soldiers who were killed on Feb. 8 in an attack in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, when an Afghan dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire on U.S. and Afghan troops. Six other U.S. Special Forces soldiers were also injured in the attack.