WASHINGTON >> A Special Forces soldier from Hawaii died Sunday after being injured last week by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday in a statement, bringing the number of U.S. troops killed this year in combat in Afghanistan to five.
On Tuesday, Sgt. 1st Class Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion, 36, of Waikoloa on Hawaii island was working alongside Afghan commandos in the Sangin district of Helmand province when he was killed by the bomb, which also wounded several Afghans and at least one other American, according to two military officials.
The Pentagon said it was investigating the explosion.
Transfiguracion was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, according to a biography released by the Army. He was born in the Philippines and enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard less than two months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Gov. David Ige said in a written statement Monday, “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 Sgt. 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 Sgt. Transfiguracion’s wife, Edelyn, their two daughters, and the Transfiguracion ohana.”
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa tweeted Monday, “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of Army Staff Sgt. 1st Class Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion. Thank you, for your service. Please keep his wife, two children and family in your prayers. Remember to honor our troops and respect our veterans and their families.”
The attack in Sangin — one of the most violent districts in Helmand province at the height of the U.S. troop surge in 2010 and 2011 — came only days after a Marine there was shot in the head while at his guard post, according to two military officers familiar with the shooting. The bullet glanced off the Marine’s helmet.
“The Marine was seen by on-site medical personnel as standard protocol and has since returned to full duty,” Maj. Joshua C. Benson, a Marine Corps spokesman, said in an email.
The Marine is one of about 300 members of a task force sent to Helmand province to help advise the Afghan military. The unit has been rotating troops to Sangin in recent weeks.
The episodes highlight the dangerous role U.S. troops continue to play in the nearly 17-year-old war despite assurances from the Pentagon that many of the roughly 14,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan are there in advisory roles.
On Friday, Taliban militants entered the city of Ghazni, attacking on multiple fronts and routing most of the Afghan army and the police.
The battle, now in its fourth day, has left hundreds dead. The Afghan army is fighting to retake the city with the help of U.S. airstrikes and troops.
The U.S.-led mission in Kabul, the capital, played down the attack, calling the militants “isolated and disparate” despite their ability to hold large sections of Ghazni and to attack Afghan outposts elsewhere in the country.
Transfiguracion’s family Monday did not return calls from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Star-Advertiser reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.