A Green Beret who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan died Saturday during combat operations in Afghanistan, according to US Army special operations spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer.
Sgt. Maj. James G. "Ryan" Sartor, 40, was from Teague, Texas, and was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group. He died during combat in northern Afghanistan's Faryab province, which borders Turkmenistan.
"We're incredibly saddened to learn of Sgt. Maj. James 'Ryan' Sartor's passing in Afghanistan. Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional," said Col. Brian R. Rauen, the commander of 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). "He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed."
The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and has had a significant military presence there since, stretching over three presidencies. More than 2,000 US military personnel have died in what is the longest war in American history.
Sartor's death comes just weeks after two US soldiers were killed by small arms fire in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province.
"I think this drives home the need for us to be successful with the missions that we have undertaken in Afghanistan as a reconciliation to reduce the level of violence, to reduce the level of risk to Afghans broadly, and the risk to American service members," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time.
Overall, the US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, where they primarily advise Afghan forces who are battling the Taliban.
Sartor joined the Army in June 2001 and deployed to Iraq as an infantryman in 2002. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course to become a Green Beret in 2005 and deployed to Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010, the US Army said. He also deployed to Afghanistan with the same group in 2017 and 2019.
Sartor's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and more. His posthumous awards include the Purple Heart Medal and Bronze Star Medal, the Army said.