World News

Fourth Soldier Dies After Coordinated Bomb Blast in Afghanistan

Posted December 3, 2018 4:41 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON — A fourth Army soldier has died as a result of a roadside bomb in central Afghanistan last week, the Pentagon announced Monday, marking the incident as the single largest loss of American life in the war since 2015.

Sgt. Jason M. McClary, 24, was in the armored vehicle that was hit by Taliban militants in Ghazni province on Nov. 27. He died of his wounds in Landstuhl, Germany, on Sunday.

Two Defense Department officials said the attack was well coordinated. The bomb was manually detonated by a trigger man who targeted the U.S. vehicle in the middle of the joint Afghan and American convoy.

The explosion flipped the soldiers’ mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, killing Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29; Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25.

Two other soldiers and a civilian contractor were wounded.

Ross, the leader of the detachment, and Emond were Green Berets and part of 3rd Special Forces Group, a unit that was sent to Ghazni after its provincial capital was overrun by Taliban militants in August and then retaken by U.S. and Afghan troops. Elchin was responsible for coordinating airstrikes.

Officials said McClary, originally assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, was a driver and turret gunner for the Green Beret unit, part of what the Pentagon calls the “uplift program,” where conventional troops are assigned to Special Operations units for more support.

Thirteen Americans have died in combat in Afghanistan this year, up from 11 in 2017. The last time more than four Americans were killed in combat in a single incident was in 2015, when six Americans on patrol outside Bagram Air Base, the largest NATO base in Afghanistan, were attacked by a suicide bomber.

Just days before McClary was wounded, an Army Ranger was accidentally killed by a soldier from an Afghan commando unit. The American soldier, Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, was fatally shot during a Nov. 24 raid on Qaida militants in Nimruz province in the southwest.