The Pentagon has identified the service member who died in a mission in Somalia as Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken. His killing marks the first U.S. military combat death in that country since 1993.
Milliken, 38, was killed Thursday in a remote area approximately 40 miles west of the capital Mogadishu as U.S. forces were conducting an advise-and-assist mission with members of the Somali National Army. The group came under attack in the middle of the night.
He was a senior chief special warfare operator from Falmouth, Maine, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Senior Chief Kyle Milliken embodied the warrior spirit and toughness infused in our very best Navy SEALs. We grieve his death, but we celebrate his life and many accomplishments,” Rear Admiral Timothy Szymanski, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement Saturday. “He is irreplaceable as a husband, father, son, friend and teammate – and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and teammates. His sacrifice is a stark reminder that Naval Special Operators are forward doing their job, confronting terrorism overseas to prevent evil from reaching our shores.”
U.S. and Somali forces were attacked at some point after arriving by helicopter to the target location, a compound that housed a group of al-Shabaab militants associated with an attack on facilities nearby used by Somali and U.S. military forces.
“We helped bring them in there with our aircraft,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Friday. “We were there maintaining a distance back as they conducted the operation, that’s when our forces came under fire and we had the unfortunate casualty.”
U.S. and Somali forces were ultimately able to return fire and suppress the attack, a U.S. official told ABC News.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Luis Martinez, Elizabeth McLaughlin and Morgan Winsor