On Friday, March 22nd, two American soldiers were killed by small arms fire in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, a Special Forces soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group (10th SFG), and Specialist Joseph P. Collette, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician with the 242nd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, died in combat operations against Taliban insurgents.
Sergeant Lindsay was a veteran of numerous deployments in the Middle East, including one deployment to Afghanistan, one to Tajikistan in support of counter-narcotics operations, and five to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the Special Operations Command, he graduated in 2006 from the Special Forces Qualification Course, a course that varies in length depending on one’s Military Occupation Specialty and that follows after the Special Forces Assessment and Selection.
Among other decorations, Sergeant Lindsay’s medals included the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Badge, and the Master Parachutist Badge. He was also a graduate of the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, a month-long sniper course, and the Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant Course. At the time of his death, Sergeant Lindsay was serving as the Intelligence Sergeant (18F) on his Operational Detachment Alpha.
Col. Lawrence Ferguson, the commanding officer of the 10th SFG, said in a press release provided to the Army Times, that the “the 10th SFG (A) family is deeply saddened at the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay. Will was one of the best in our formation, with more than a decade of service in the Regiment at all levels of noncommissioned officer leadership. We will focus now on supporting his family and honoring his legacy and sacrifice.”
Specialist Collette was attached to the 10th Group Special Forces Operational Detachment. Among other medals, his military decorations included the Combat Action Badge, the Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge, and the Purple Heart.
Specialist Collette’s unit also issued a statement. “The 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) is deeply saddened by the loss of Spc. Joseph P. Collette,” said Col. David Green, commanding officer of the 71st Ordnance Group. “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends.”
This month has been particularly tough on the special operations community. Aside from the death of Sergeant Lindsay, Sgt. 1st Class Ethan Carpenter, a Ranger assigned to the secretive Ranger Reconnaissance Company, was killed in a free-fall training accident on March 15th. In the year so far, two more American commandos have died in Afghanistan. Sgt. Cameron Meddock, a Ranger with the 2nd Ranger Battalion, was killed by small arms fire on January 13. Sgt. 1st Class Joshua “Zach” Beale, a Green Beret with the 3rd Special Forces Group was also killed by small arms fire on January 22.
Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, 33, of Cortez, Colorado, died March 22, 2019, in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army)