By SOF Editor on Mon, 11/30/2009 - 11:30am
KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 30) - The second U.S. paratrooper who was missing after being swept away by a fast moving current while on an airdrop re-supply mission Nov. 4 in western Afghanistan was found yesterday.
Sergeant Brandon Islip, 24, was recovered from the Bala Murgahab River in Badghis province after a local Afghan citizen provided information on his whereabouts.
United Kingdom divers searching the river recovered Specialist Benjamin Sherman, 21, Nov. 10. Specialist Sherman was posthumously promoted to Sergeant.
Sergeant Islip and Sergeant Sherman from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, were infantrymen assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. They were attached to 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment to advise and train Afghan National Security Forces.
In the weeks following their disappearance, a combined search and recovery effort involving Afghan National Security Forces, international forces, and 4th Brigade Combat Team paratroopers resulted in the recovery of the remains of the missing paratroopers in the Bala Murghab district, Badghis province.
Support from all military and civilian agencies in Afghanistan was unwavering and directly led to the timely recovery of the paratroopers, said Col. Brian M. Drinkwine, commander of the 4th BCT.
"The recovery of Sergeant Islip and Sergeant Sherman would not have been possible without the untiring support and efforts of our fellow international forces, the Afghan National Security Forces and the local people of Bala Murghab," said Colonel Drinkwine. "We owe a great debt of gratitude to our fellow warriors of the Marines, Air Force, Navy, the Italian and Spanish forces of Regional Command-West, Regional Command-South, the Afghan National Security Forces and the leaders of Bala Murghab."
Located in Regional Command-West, initial support to Bala Murghab came from Afghan, Spanish and Italian forces in the area.
As the situation developed and a larger, sustained recovery operation was put into place, additional support was requested and given for the mission.
Aviation support from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade allowed for a rapid increase of troop strength in the area over the following days. Regional Command-South and West assisted in providing British divers, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, and additional aviation assets to aid in the search.
Recovery efforts focused on searching the river and engaging the local government and leaders to assist in the search.
"We never leave a fallen comrade behind," said Colonel Drinkwine. "We can only hope the families of Sergeant Islip and Sergeant Sherman will receive some peace knowing their loved ones have been recovered."
A memorial service for the two paratroopers will be held in Afghanistan in the coming days.