U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan identified by Pentagon

Sgt. 1st Class Javier Gutierrez was born in Jacksonville, N.C. and spent time at Fort Bragg

U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan identified by Pentagon
Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rodriguez (left), 28, and Sgt. 1st Class Javier Gutierrez (right), 28, died February 8, 2020 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations.

KABUL, Afghanistan (WBTV/AP) - The Pentagon identified two American soldiers killed in a so-called insider attack in eastern Afghanistan late Saturday night.

Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, died February 8, 2020 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations.

U.S. officials say an Afghan dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire late Saturday in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

A member of the Nangarhar Provincial Council, Ajmal Omer, tells The Associated Press the gunman was killed. It isn’t clear if the gunman was an insurgent infiltrator or rogue Afghan military personnel.

Sgt. 1st Class Javier Gutierrez was born in Jacksonville, N.C. and enlisted in the Army in 2009 as an infantryman stationed at Fort Bragg.

“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,” said Col. John W. Sannes, 7th Special Forces Group Commander. “Our priority now is to take care of his family and teammates, we will provide the best possible care possible during these trying times.”

Gutierrez attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection at Fort Bragg in 2012 and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course.

He graduated in 2015 as a Special Forces Communications Sergeant and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Gutierrez deployed once to Iraq while assigned to 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and once to Afghanistan while assigned to 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rodriguez was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2009. He attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Rodriguez deployed eight times with the 75th Ranger Regiment and twice with 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

“Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez was selfless and served honorably; he was certainly among the best in our unit,” said Col. Sannes.

Both soldiers were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Afghan officials said one Afghan soldier was also killed during the combat operations.

There have been numerous attacks by Afghan national army soldiers on their allied partners over the 18 years of America’s protracted war in the country. The incident comes as Washington seeks to find an end to the war.

Six U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan this year. Last year, 22 U.S. service personnel died from “hostile” action.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this article. All rights reserved.