In what turned out to be an awful month for the Special Forces community, the Pentagon released the name of yet another Green Beret killed in action in Afghanistan on August 29.
Sergeant First Class Dustin Ard was killed by small-arms fire during a joint operation with Afghan Special Operations Forces (SOF). The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) hasn’t released further information of the Green Beret’s death pending an investigation on the incident.
Earlier in August, two more Special Forces operators were killed in the war-torn country. Master Sergeants Luis Deleon-Figueroa and Jose Gonzalez, from the 7th Special Forces Group, were also killed by small-arms fire during combat operations.
Although as of now irrelevant with Sgt. Ard’s death, it was recently revealed that a Ranger from the 2nd Ranger Battalion was killed by Afghan friendly fire during a joint operation with one of Afghanistan’s most elite units on November 2018.
Colonel Owen G. Ray, the commanding officer of the 1st Special Forces Group, said in a press statement that “Sgt. 1st Class Ard’s loss is felt across our 1st Special Forces Group Family. Our priority now is to take care of his family and our Soldiers and provide the best possible care that we can during this incredible time of need.”
Staff Sgt. Ard was promoted to Sgt. 1st Class on August 1, 2019, and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
According to a release by SOCOM, Sgt. Ard was a graduate of the following schools: Basic, Advanced, and Senior Leader Courses; U.S. Army Airborne School; Military Free Fall Course; Special Operations Joint Terminal Attack Controller Course; Special Operations Sensitive Site Exploitation Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School; Korean Special Operations Language Course; and the Special Forces Qualification Course.
Additionally, the Green Beret had received the following awards and decorations during his career: Bronze Star Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal (second award); National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (third award); Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Army Special Forces Tab; Combat Infantry Badge; Parachutist Badge and Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge.
Bruce Ard, Sgt. Ard’s father, made a statement on behalf of the grieving family:
“We received news that we lost our son Dustin in Afghanistan. My heart has a hole so big, I can hardly stand it. He was the finest young man I have ever known. Not because he was my son, but because of the person he is. A great son, brother, father and husband. He loved his country and was the kind of person we should all be. Son, I love you and know we will see each other again. I will miss you every day I live without you. Love, Dad.”