US military identifies troop casualties, disputes civilian death tally & sets record straight on transgender troops

The Department of Defense announced the death of three US military personnel, disputed civilian casualty reports and explained that President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts may not translate into actual commands.

Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter and Spc. Christopher Michael Harris.

Two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel died Aug. 2 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device detonated near their convoy.

Killed were Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter, 23, of Columbus, Indiana, and Spc. Christopher Michael Harris, 25, of Jackson Springs, North Carolina.  Both soldiers were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. 

Fort Bragg area supporters have raised more than $60,000 to help support the families of the two paratroopers.

 A number of GoFundMe campaigns on behalf of the Harris and Hunter families have been verified. A campaign for Harris’s wife, Britt, at gofundme.com/48091y8 had raised more than $56,000 of a $60,000 goal. The campaign states that Britt Harris recently discovered that she and her husband were expecting their first child.Two campaigns for Hunter’s family had raised $22,283 of a $50,000 goal, and nearly $5,760 of a $6,000 goal, respectively. The campaigns, at gofundme.com/support-for-sgt-jonathon-hunter and gofundme.com/jonathon-hunter-funeral have the stated goals of supporting Hunter’s wife, Whitney, and his father, Mark Hunter.

The two soldiers were in Afghanistan in support of the Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. NATO officials in Afghanistan said four other soldiers were wounded, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

There are about 15,500 coalition troops in Afghanistan in support of the 16-year-old war. About 8,400 of them are from the U.S. military, with more than 2,000 of that number hailing from Fort Bragg.

The Air Force also reported one death.  Tech. Sgt. David Board, 49, of Barboursville, West Virginia, died August 2 in Kuwait in a non-combat-related incident while deployed in support of combat operations. Board was assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, West Virginia.
In the month of June, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) carried over 180 open reports of possible civilian casualties from previous months and received 72 new reports resulting from Coalition strikes in support of partner force operations to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
To date, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses that at least 624 civilians have been unintentionally killed by ground artillery or air strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve. A total of 424 reports are still open and being assessed at the end of the month.
Based on data between August 2014 and June 2017, the Coalition conducted a total of 22,983 strikes that included 48,636 separate engagements. During this period, the total number of reports of possible civilian casualties was 1101.
The total number of reports of civilian casualties deemed credible by the Department of Defense during this time period was 151. The claims dispute reports of civilian casualties from international airstrikes in Iraq, Syria and Libya received from Airwars.org.
Airwars is a journalist-led transparency project working around four strands. We monitor and assess reports of civilian casualties allegedly caused by the US Coalition, Russian and other international airstrikes.
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W. White said the Department of Defense has not received formal guidance from the White House despite President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts about military service by transgender personnel.
“We will provide detailed guidance to the department in the near future for how this policy change will be implemented,” White said. “The department will continue to focus on our mission of defending our nation and on-going operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect.”

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