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Fort Carson soldier killed in Afghanistan firefight

January 4, 2018 Updated: January 4, 2018 at 6:12 am
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Army Sgt. Mihail Golin uses a tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missile to help in securing the Afghanistan and Pakistan border crossing, Dec. 4, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Otero)

A Fort Carson soldier died in a New Year's Day firefight in eastern Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday.

Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, 34, was assigned to the post's 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group. He was on foot when his patrol was hit by enemy rifle fire, the Pentagon said.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Golin," Col. Lawrence G. Ferguson, 10th Group's commander, said in a statement. "We are proud of his service and sacrifice, as well as that of his family. We will honor his memory and support his family during this trying time."

Four other soldiers were wounded in the fight. The identities of the wounded, including whether they're from Fort Carson, have not been released. The military is unlikely to release details of the incident because it involved secretive special forces troops.

Golin and other Green Berets are part of a U.S. effort to squeeze the Taliban and eliminate Islamic State fighters in the restive province. Nangarhar, which includes the eastern city of Jalalabad, is a key stronghold for insurgents that provides access to the no-man's-land border region with Pakistan.

In 2017, President Donald Trump sent American forces on the offensive there, using new measures to fight insurgents. The new tactics included dropping America's largest conventional weapon, the 10-ton Massive Ordnance Air Blast, which troops call the "mother of all bombs."

Holding Nangarhar is crucial for U.S. forces because it includes the Khyber Pass, a key lifeline to ship supplies into the landlocked nation.

Golin's death drew a statement from Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the American effort in Afghanistan.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own," Nicholson said on Twitter. "At this very difficult time our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen and wounded brothers."

Golin, who was born in Riga, Latvia, was a weapons expert in 10th Group.

He immigrated to America in 2004 and enlisted in the Army three months later, Army records show. In the Army he earned parachute wings, and passed the notoriously-tough Ranger course.

In 2014, he passed a grueling qualification course that trains troops to fight behind enemy lines and prepare foreign troops for battle.

He deployed once to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan, earning the Army Commendation Medal three times for exceptional performance. He joined 10th Group three years ago.

At Army Special Operations Command in North Carolina, Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt said Golin set an example for others.

"Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin volunteered to serve this great country, deploying numerous times, and we will never forget his sacrifice," Bockholt said in an email.

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Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

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