TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan (CBS/CBS News/AP) — One of the two U.S. soldiers shot and killed in Afghanistan this week has been identified as a Chicago area man.
Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, was killed in the Monday attack in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, along with Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer of Stryker, Ohio, according to the Department of Defense.
Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica R. Maxwell says the incident is under investigation.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, Nance’s great uncle was sharing his love and fond memories Tuesday night.
“Brilliant young man; really enjoyed his life; was really looking forward to being in the army – it’s like a lifelong dream of his,” said Kenon Forest. “And he was just grateful to be able to serve his country.”
Friend and comrade Tiler Carlton – who is currently overseas, memorialized Nance: “It was an honor to serve beside you and be a leader in the same environment as you.”
Both soldiers were part of the parachute infantry, assigned to the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“These young men were true All Americans and embodied the qualities of selfless service and courage as they answered our nation’s call to deploy to Afghanistan,” Col. Arthur Sellers, Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team said in a news release. “Our focus is now providing their loved ones with every available resource to help them in this most difficult time.”
The soldiers’ division memorialized the two in a post online: “The expertise of every staff member of this brigade and in the 82nd Airborne Division will be utilized to ensure the Families of the fallen are taken care of. As we move forward together, I ask for your thoughts and prayers for the Families affected and for the Paratroopers of their unit who are still deployed.”
The Defense Department said Nance joined the Army in January 2017 and completed basic combat training, advanced individual training, and airborne school at Fort Benning, Georgia, before being assigned to the 1-505th PIR as an automatic rifleman.
He had been awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge, the Defense Department said.
Nance is survived by his father, a Chicago resident, and his mother, a resident of south suburban Glenwood.
Kreischer joined the Army in 2018 and is similarly decorated, the Defense Department said. He is survived by his wife in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The U.S. formally ended its Afghan combat mission in 2014 but still provides extensive air and other support to local forces battling both the Taliban and an affiliate of the Islamic State group.
U.S. and allied forces have faced increasing insider attacks in recent years. In November, Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah, and a major in the Utah National Guard, was killed by an Afghan soldier in Kabul.
The last six months have seen the Taliban carry out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting Afghan security forces. The insurgent group effectively controls around half the country.
The Taliban has rejected calls for a cease-fire even as they hold talks with the U.S. aimed at ending the 18-year war, America’s longest.
ISIS, meanwhile, has launched attacks targeting security forces as well as minority Shiites.
The U.S. has lost more than 2,400 soldiers in its longest war and has spent more than $900 billion on everything from military operations to the construction of roads, bridges and power plants.
The Trump administration is trying to boost the capabilities of Afghan security forces and increase military pressure on the Taliban in the hope of forcing them to negotiate a peace.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CBS News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)