This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Soldiers from two Utah National Guard units fought or flew in the Tuesday battle in city of Marja in Afghanistan's Helmand province, a spokesman in Utah said Wednesday night.
Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn said he was not aware of any Utah soldiers being wounded in the battle. The American soldier who was killed, Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock, a veteran Green Beret belonged to the Washington National Guard. The Utah soldiers were mourning his loss, Fairbourn said.
McClintock and the Utah soldiers on the ground were from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group. A helicopter from the Utah National Guard's 5-159th Medevac was sent in to carry away the wounded, Fairbourn added.
"Our air Medevac crew got shot at, but no significant injury," Fairbourn said.
The Associated Press reported one helicopter was struck by weapons fire and disabled. Fairbourn, who was working in Draper on Wednesday, said he did not know whether that helicopter belonged to the 5-159th. Fairbourn said about 80 Utah soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group are deployed to the Middle East, though he didn't know if they all fought in Marja. The soldiers are working as advisors to Afghanistan's military and were with an Afghan unit when they came under attack.
"They're mentoring crews out on missions," Fairbourn said. "If those crews are engaged then our crew have an inherent right to self defense."
The last Utahn to die in combat was Cody Towse, of Salem, a medic who was posthumously promoted to specialist. He died May 14, 2013. Towse served with the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from Fort Bliss, Texas.