Sergeant Major James Sartor, a member of the 10th Special Forces Group, died during combat operations in Faryab province, Afghanistan on Saturday, July 13, 2019. DoD reported that he died as a result of injures sustained from enemy small arms fire during combat operations. Faryab province is located in the north west of Afghanistan. James Sartor was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group which is based at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Map of Faryab province, Afghanistan (Wikipedia)
James “Ryan” Sartor, age 40, was from Teague, Texas and was born on Sept. 23, 1978. He joined the Army in June 2001 and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division as an infantryman. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 10th group in 2005.
He deployed to Iraq as an infantryman in 2002, and as a Green Beret assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th SFG (A) in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He also deployed to Afghanistan with 10th SFG (A) in 2017 and 2019.
“We’re incredibly saddened to learn of Sgt. Maj. James “Ryan” Sartor’s passing in Afghanistan. Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional. He led his Soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed.Colonel Brian R. Rauen, commander 10th SFG(A).
Sartor’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with six knots, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with 4 Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 5, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2, NATO Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Special Operations Diver Badge.
His posthumous awards include the Purple Heart Medal and Bronze Star Medal.
This is the 12th U.S. military death in Afghanistan this year. Ten of these died in combat and two in non-combat related incidents. At least half of these casualties were members of special operations units. Over 2,400 U.S. service members have died in the Afghan conflict, with thousands more wounded or injured. 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group has had an extremely costly deployment during the first part of 2019.
General Scott Miller, the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, visited Faryab province July 11th to review the security situation in that northwestern Afghan province. Miller was accompanied by the Afghan Deputy Interior Minister for Security Brigadier General Khoshal Sadat and other high-ranking Afghan security officials. (The Khaama Press, July 11, 2019).
The U.S. involvement in the Afghan conflict is in its 18th year. Currently there are about 14,000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. The two missions of the U.S. are to conduct counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and the Islamic State groups in Afghanistan and to provide security force assistance (train, advise, and assist) to the Afghan security forces. In his recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee General Mark Milley stated that it would be a ‘strategic mistake’ to leave Afghanistan prematurely. (Voice of America, July 11, 2019).
U.S. Army Special Forces are at the front lines of the conflict often accompanying Afghan special operations forces on combat operations. James Sartor leaves behind a wife and three children.
July 15, 2019. Video of Dignified Transfer: SGM Sartor. KKTV 11 News, Facebook.
July 14, 2019. “DOD Identifies Army Casualty”, DoD News Release.
July 13, 2019. “U.S. Service Member Killed in Afghanistan”, Resolute Support Headquarters, Afghanistan.
Photo: Provided by USASOC PAO. Biographical information also provided by USASOC PAO, LTC Loren Bymer.