- Operation Enduring Freedom
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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Sgt. Maj Wardell Turner
Died November 24, 2014 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
48, of Nanticoke, Md.; assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Drum, N.Y., died Nov. 24 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack. Also killed was Army Spc. Joseph Riley.
DoD IDs sergeant major, specialist killed in Afghanistan
By Michelle Tan
The Defense Department on Wednesday identified two soldiers, including a command sergeant major, who were killed Monday in Afghanistan.
The soldiers died in Kabul from wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
Sgt. Maj. Wardell Turner, 48, was from Nanticoke, Maryland. He was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Drum, New York.
Spc. Joseph Riley, 27, was from Grove City, Ohio. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
According to local media reports, Turner was assigned to a key training command in Afghanistan.
Turner served as the top enlisted for Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan in Kabul, which is primarily responsible for training Afghan National Security Forces. Earlier this year, CSTC-A lost Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, who was killed in a deadly insider attack Aug. 5 in Kabul. Greene was CSTC-A's deputy commander and the first American general officer to be killed by hostile fire in combat since Sept. 11, 2001.
Turner graduated from Bennett High School in 1984 and was a member of the 1983 championship football team, according to the Daily Times newspaper in Salisbury, Maryland.
He attended Towson University on a football scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a bachelors degree in management, according to the paper.
Turner later earned a master's degree in criminal justice from Central Missouri State University in 2011.
Turner had served in several military police units since 1993, most recently in the 720th Military Police Battalion. He was promoted to sergeant major in July 2013, the Maryland paper reported.
Riley, who was an infantryman, joined the Army in June 2012, according to the 82nd Airborne. He arrived at Fort Bragg in October 2012 and was later assigned to 1st Battalion.
"Spc. Riley was a superb paratrooper who I will remember as having an infectious positive attitude," said Lt. Col. Matthew Konz, Riley's battalion commander, in a statement. "He was able to lift the spirits of those around him, even in the worst conditions. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to know and serve with him."
Riley's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Combat Infantryman Badge and Basic Parachutist Badge.