A 22-year-old soldier assigned to a military intelligence battalion at Fort Gordon was killed Sept. 16 in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, the Department of Defense confirmed Wednesday.
Official details state that Spc. Joshua N. Nelson was killed with three others when their position came under attack by small arms fire. Media reports state that four American soldiers and an Afghan policeman were killed Sunday and another two American soldiers were wounded in an “insider” attack by Afghan nationals at a checkpoint in the Mizan district. An Army spokesman said the incident was under investigation, and he would not confirm the identities of those killed Sept. 16.
Besides Nelson, a Greenville, N.C., native who was on his first deployment, the Department of Defense identified three other Americans killed: Sgt. Sapuro B. Nena, 25, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Pfc. Genaro Bedoy, 20, of Amarillo, Texas; and Pfc. Jon R. Townsend, 19, of Claremore, Okla.
Nelson enlisted in the Army in 2011 and received his advanced individual training in signals intelligence analysis at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. He arrived at Fort Gordon in December and was assigned to D Company, 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, then later the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion. He deployed to Afghanistan in May. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Fort Gordon says a memorial service is pending.
In the two days leading up to the Sept. 16 attack, six coalition soldiers were killed by Afghan nationals, bringing the total to 51 this year, according to an Associated Press analysis. The so-called green-on-blue attacks by uniformed Afghans account for 15.4 percent of all deaths in 2012, according to the International Security Assistance Force and iCasualties.org.