A highly decorated U.S. Army Ranger was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday during his 14th deployment to the Middle East. Twenty-nine-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Domeij and two other soldiers died on October 22 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. NBC Nightly News on Sgt. Domeij's service:
With his 14 deployments, Sgt. Domeij becomes the Ranger with the most deployments to date killed in action.
Sgt. Domeij "had the value of an entire strike force on the battlefield," said Col. Mark W. Odom, commander of Sgt. Domeij's 75th Ranger Regiment, in a press release.
Sgt. Domeij served four deployments in Iraq and another nine stints in Afghanistan. During that time he was awarded two Bronze Stars. ABC News writes that his third Bronze Star, earned during his final tour in Afghanistan, will be awarded posthumously along with the Purple Heart, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
Sgt.Domeij had been a member of the team that helped rescue captured Pvt. Jessica Lynch from insurgents in Iraq in 2003. He was also one of the first ground soldiers qualified as a Ranger Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), which meant he was able to coordinate Air Force and Navy air attacks from his ground position.
Domeij's hometown newspaper, The Pomerado News, writes that the Army Ranger was remembered in a moment of silence at Rancho Bernardo High School Monday where he attended, and principal Paul Robinson described him as being a "fun-loving young man. ... He was just a good kid."
“(He) will be dearly missed by the men of 2nd Ranger Battalion,” said Lt. Col. David Hodne, the battalion’s commander, to the Pomerado News. “He was one of those men who as known by all as much for his humor, enthusiasm and loyal friendship, as he was for his unparalleled skill and bravery under fire.
“This was a Ranger you wanted at your side when the chips were down,” Hodne said. “He and his family are very much part of the fabric that defines 2nd Ranger Battalion. He is irreplaceable … in our formation … and in our hearts.”
Domeij grew up near San Diego, and is survived by his loving wife Sarah and two daughters Mikajsa and Aaliyah, of Lacey, Washington.
Also killed in the incident were 1st Lt. Ashley White, 24, and Pvt. 1st Class Christopher A. Horns, 20. Horns was on his first deployment, according to Special Operations Command.