Master Sergeant Michael Riley of the 10th Special Forces Group died as a result of wounds sustained from small arms fire on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. He was a member of a 2nd Bn 10th SFGA Special Forces team that was a part of AOB South.
Michael Riley was a communications sergeant of the SFODA. He was on his sixth deployment to Afghanistan. Also killed in the incident was a member of U.S. Army EOD – SGT James Johnston. The Taliban claimed credit for the combat action. The Special Forces detachment – SFODA 0241 – was conducting a clearing operation in the Shinia village located in the Tarin Kowt district.
Riley was born Dec. 6, 1986, in Heilbronn, Germany and was 32 years old at the time of his death. He joined the U.S. Army in March 2006. After completing basic combat training and airborne school, he was assigned to the 112th Special Operations Command Europe Signal Detachment. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2012 and was assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) based at Fort Carson, Colorado.
“It is with a heavy heart that we learn of the passing of Master Sgt. Michael Riley in Afghanistan. Mike was an experienced Special Forces noncommissioned officer and the veteran of five previous deployments to Afghanistan. We will honor his service and sacrifice as we remain steadfast in our commitment to our mission.”Col Lawrence, Ferguson, Commander, 10th Special Forces Group.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters (4 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award (OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal (3), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (3), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), NATO Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge, and Marine Qualification Badge Expert-Rifle.
June 27, 2019. “Pentagon Identifies Two Soldiers Killed in Savage Gun Fight Ahead of U.S.-Taliban Peace Talks”, by James Laporta, Newsweek.
June 27, 2019. Department of Defense Identifies Army Casualties, DoD News Release.
June 26, 2019. Two U.S. Service Members Killed in Afghanistan, Resolute Support. (statement).
Photo: Provided by USASOC PAO.