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Lewis-McChord sergeant in unit fresh to Afghanistan dies in Kandahar Province

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Nov. 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
November 16, 2012 4:11 pm

A noncommissioned officer from a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade that just this month hit the ground in Afghanistan has died, the Defense Department announced today.

Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle Jr., 25, of Rocky Mount, N.C., died Tuesday, in Kandahar Province.

He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and deployed three times. His unit is charged with clearing roads of enemy mines so convoys can drive safely in dangerous territory.

The Army has not released information about the manner of Battle’s death.

It said Battle joined the Army in June of 2005 and received his basic and advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He arrived at Lewis-McChord in November 2005 and was assigned as gunner for the 1st Special Forces Group support battalion.

He deployed with that unit from May 2008 to February 2009, records show. Seven months after his return, he transferred to the 4th Brigade and deployed to Iraq a second time from February 2010 to September 2010.

The first month of a deployment is typically a challenging time as soldiers learn about their surroundings and set up their bases for months in a combat zone.

His brigade took about 3,000 soldiers to southern Afghanistan for a nine-month assignment, mostly in Kandahar Province. It is replacing Lewis-McChord’s 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Its mission is expected to be the last major deployment for a Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Last year, Battle spoke with an Army writer at a training exercise in Yakima before the 4th Brigade received its orders for Afghanistan.

At the time, he was practicing different demolition techniques that combat engineers had neglected during years of focusing on clearing roads in Iraq.

He seemed to enjoy the variety of assignments that fall to combat engineers.

“It’s a balance of our job,” he said. “With route clearance, we … got to get movement for things and people to go places. Another part of our job is demolitions which we don’t get to do a lot.”

His death is Lewis-McChord’s 33rd fatal casualty in Afghanistan this year.

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