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2 soldiers based at Schofield die in attacks in Afghanistan

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 2:33 a.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011

Two Schofield soldiers were killed in an attack in Afghanistan's Kunar province, the Department of Defense said Thursday.

Staff Sgt. James M. Christen, 29, of Loomis, Calif., and Sgt. Jacob Molina, 27, of Houston died Tuesday of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated, according to a news release.

They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks.

Twelve Schofield soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team have been killed in mountainous and rebellious Kunar — the site of some of the greatest U.S. losses in the 10-year war — since the unit's 3,500 soldiers left in March.

Kunar province is a transit route for militants entering from Pakistan. The 3rd Brigade operates in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces from fewer than 10 forward operating bases and multiple combat outposts.

This was Christen's third overseas deployment. He previously served two tours in Iraq.

He enlisted June 22, 2000, as an infantryman.

Molina previously served one tour in Iraq. He enlisted Feb. 15, 2007, as an infantryman.

Both soldiers were married.

Christen's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart (both posthumous).

Molina also posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart, among other awards and decorations.

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