The Pentagon has released the identified of an Army Special Forces soldier killed in action Tuesday in central Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Joshua "Zach" Beale, 32, of Carrollton, Virginia, died in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan province, while conducting combat operations, according to military releases. Beale was attached to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He suffered fatal wounds from enemy small-arms fire, officials said.
Beale enlisted in the Army in 2011 after graduating with a degree in criminal justice from Virginia's Old Dominion University in 2008, officials said. He graduated in 2013 from the Army's Special Forces Qualification Course in 2013, before being assigned to 3rd SFG. He earned his Ranger tab while assigned to the unit and also graduated from the Advanced Leader Course and Special Forces Sniper Course as a member of 3rd SFG.
Beale had deployed twice before to Afghanistan, and four times overall in support of military operations.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal. His prior awards included two more Bronze Stars and the Army Achievement Medal.
"Joshua was a smart, talented and dedicated member of 3rd SFG (A) and the special operations community. He will be greatly missed by everyone who had the fortunate opportunity to know him. We extend our deepest condolences to his family for this tragic loss," Col. Nathan Prussian, 3rd SFG (A) commander, said in a statement.
Beale is survived by a wife and two children.
He is the second service member to be killed in action in Afghanistan as the war enters its 18th year.
An Army ranger, Sgt. Cameron Meddock, died Jan. 17 from wounds sustained earlier in Badghis province in northwestern Afghanistan.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.