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Hawaii soldier dies after explosion in southern Afghanistan

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sgt. 1st Class Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion

An Army special forces soldier from the Big Island has died from wounds he received earlier this month in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, the Defense Department said Monday.

Sgt. 1st Class Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion, 36, of Waikoloa, died Sunday at a hospital in Germany. He was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near him while he was on patrol.

Transfiguracion was a staff sergeant when he was wounded but was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class, said Maj. Beth Riordan, spokeswoman for 1st Special Forces Command. He was an engineer assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Gov. David Ige said in a news release, “Hawaii has lost a brave soldier who sacrificed his life serving his country. My deepest condolences to Sgt. 1st Class Transfiguracion’s wife and children, and his entire ohana. Let our community come together to support them now and in the coming months.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said, “Staff Sergeant Reymund Transfiguracion served our country and the people of Hawaii honorably in the U.S. Army and as a member of the Hawaii National Guard. My condolences and aloha are with Staff Sergeant Transfiguracion’s wife Edelyn, their two daughters, and the Transfiguracion ohana.”

Born in the Philippines, Transfiguracion enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard in 2001. He joined the active-duty Army in 2008 and later went through special forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Transfiguracion deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2008, then went to the Philippines in 2010 for six months, Riordan said. His latest war tour in Afghanistan started in March.

Among his numerous awards, Transfiguracion received a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Meritorious Service Medal as a result of his Afghanistan service. It was the second Purple Heart he received during his military career.

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