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Pentagon IDs two soldiers who died in Afghanistan

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The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers who died Tuesday in Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, 32, and Sgt. James G. Johnston, 24, died due to injuries from a small arms fire during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Urzugan Province.

Riley, from Heilbronn, Germany, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Carson in Colorado. Johnston, from Trumansburg, New York, was assigned to the 79th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 71st Ordnance Group at Fort Hood in Texas.

Riley had received awards including the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. He first joined the Army in 2006.

“Mike was an experienced Special Forces noncommissioned officer and the veteran of five previous deployments to Afghanistan,” Col. Lawrence G. Ferguson, the commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), said in a statement Thursday. “We will honor his service and sacrifice as we remain steadfast in our commitment to our mission.”

The Pentagon announced Wednesday that two service members were killed in Afghanistan, but did not disclose the names because of Department of Defense policy that prevents names of those killed in action from being released until 24 hours after next of kin in notified.

A total of nine U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, according to

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