YAHOO.COM - An Army Ranger who was on his 14th deployment to a combat zone has been killed in Afghanistan.
Sgt. First Class Kristoffer B. Domeij, 29, was killed Saturday when the assault force he was with triggered a hidden roadside bomb in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province.
Domeij served four deployments in Iraq and another nine stints in Afghanistan. During that time he was awarded two Bronze Stars. His third Bronze Star, earned during his final tour in Afghanistan, will be awarded posthumously, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
Also killed in Saturday's blast were First Lieutenant Ashley White, 24, a Cultural Support Team member, and fellow Ranger Private First Class Christopher A. Horns, 20, who was on his first combat deployment.
His battalion commander, Lt. Col. David Hodne, described Domeij as "one of those men who was known by all as much for his humor, enthusiasm, and loyal friendship, as he was for his unparalleled skill and bravery under fire."
"This was a Ranger you wanted at your side when the chips were down... He is irreplaceable … in our formation … and in our hearts," Hodne said.
Domeij, who grew up in San Diego, Calif. and Colorado Springs, Colo., and lived in Lacey, Wash., was married and had two young daughters.
Rangers are some of the Army's most elite special operations forces and have seen almost continual combat in Afghanistan since October 2001 when they were part of the original airborne assault into the country.
Rangers serve three to four month tours of duty that are significantly shorter than the year-long deployments served by soldiers in conventional units. But during those short deployments they see a constant churn of intense combat missions. On average, a Ranger battalion will conduct between 400 to 500 missions during a combat deployment.
Tracy Bailey, a spokesperson for the 75th Ranger Regiment, says Domeij had a combined total of 48 months deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Higher ranking enlisted Rangers, like Domeij, typically have between nine and 12 deployments if they were with the 75th Ranger Regiment prior to or shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. Domeij had enlisted in the Army in July 2001 and joined the 2nd battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in April 2002.
With his 14 deployments, Domeij becomes the Ranger with the most deployments to date killed in action. Just a year ago this month, fellow Ranger SFC Lance Vogeler was killed in Afghanistan during his 12th deployment, becoming at that time the Ranger with the most deployments killed in action.
Domeij had the distinction of being one of the first Rangers to be qualified as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), a position usually reserved for Air Force airmen who serve with ground combat units and call in airstrikes from fighters or bombers flying overhead.
Col. Mark W. Odom, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, called Domeij "the prototypical special operations NCO" whose abilities as a JTAC "made him a game changer on the battlefield—an operator who in real terms had the value of an entire strike force on the battlefield."