A Hero Falls In Afghanistan

Sergeant First Class Kristoffer Bryan Domeij of the 75th Army Ranger Regiment was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan during combat operations last Saturday.  Also killed were Private 1st Class Christopher Horns from the same regiment, and 1st Lt. Ashley White of the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, a female officer serving as a Cultural Support Team member.

All three of these exceptional young people, and all those who fell before them, were priceless treasures our nation can never replace.  There is something especially poignant, and almost unbelievable, about Sgt. Domeij: he was on his fourteenth deployment.  That makes him the most frequently deployed Ranger killed in action during the War on Terror.

ABC News reviews his service record:

Domeij served four deployments in Iraq and another nine stints in Afghanistan. During that time he was awarded two Bronze Stars. His third Bronze Star, earned during his final tour in Afghanistan, will be awarded posthumously, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Domeij had the distinction of being one of the first Rangers to be qualified as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), a position usually reserved for Air Force airmen who serve with ground combat units and call in airstrikes from fighters or bombers flying overhead.

As ABC notes, Ranger deployments are relatively short, but intense:

Rangers serve three to four month tours of duty that are significantly shorter than the year-long deployments served by soldiers in conventional units. But during those short deployments they see a constant churn of intense combat missions. On average, a Ranger battalion will conduct between 400 to 500 missions during a combat deployment.

Tracy Bailey, a spokesperson for the 75th Ranger Regiment, says Domeij had a combined total of 48 months deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Sgt. 1st Class Domeij was the prototypical special operations NCO,” said Col. Mark Odom, commander of the 75th Rangers.  He added that Domeij was “a technically and tactically competent Joint Terminal Attack Controller and veteran of a decade of deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan and hundreds of combat missions. His ability to employ fire support platforms made him a game changer on the battlefield – an operator who in real terms had the value of an entire strike force on the battlefield.”

Sgt. Domeij was married, and has two daughters.  According to a press release from the Army Special Operations Command, he enlisted in the Army two months before 9/11, and joined the 75th Rangers in April 2002.  He had a lot of chances to conclude a long and honorable career of front-line combat service… but time and again he returned to duty, far beyond anything that could reasonably have been asked of him, because his country needed him.  We still do.