Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan, the Navy explosives ordinance disposal technician who was the first American killed in the battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group, died while warning the forces he was supporting about a roadside bomb, the top commander for U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria said Sunday.

Finan, 34, died on Oct. 20 from injuries sustained when his own vehicle hit a roadside bomb. He was remembered for his sacrifice by both Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top U.S. commander for Operation Inherent Resolve, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Irbil on Sunday. The two leaders were in Irbil to discuss the Mosul offensive with members of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

“(Finan) was carrying out his very important responsibilities as an (explosives ordinance disposal) technician” when he died, Carter said, noting that Finan and his fellow technicians are owed “a deep debt of gratitude.”

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Image courtesy of US Navy

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