Pentagon Identifies Soldier Killed in ISIS Hostage Rescue:

Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler of Roland, Oklahoma, a highly-decorated soldier and father of four, rushed into action when he heard sounds of gunfire coming from a prison in Iraq where dozens of ISIS-held hostage were being held on Thursday.

Those actions, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters on Friday, weren’t part of the original rescue mission plan, but were critical to its success.

“I am immensely proud of this young man,” Carter said adding that his thoughts and prayers go out to Wheeler’s family.

Earlier Friday, Defense officials confirmed to NBC News Wheeler, 39, as the American Delta Force commando killed in a rescue mission in Iraq on Thursday.

Awful news. The New York Times has a nice story on Master Sergeant Wheeler and his life, so go over and read more about this American hero. They also had a little bit about the raid itself:

A former Delta Force officer who had commanded Sergeant Wheeler in Iraq and had been briefed on the mission said that the Kurdish fighters, known as Peshmerga, tried to blast a hole in the compound’s outer wall, but could not. Sergeant Wheeler and another American, part of a team of 10 to 20 Delta Force operators who were present, ran up to the wall, breached it with explosives, and were the first ones through the hole.

I am continually in awe of the caliber of soldier that America produces. These fighting men, who run toward gunfire coming right at their heads. Absolutely extraordinary.