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Pentagon identifies soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Pentagon ID's soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The two soldiers killed in Afghanistan earlier this week were identified Saturday by the Defense Department as Spc. Joseph P. Collette, 29, of Lancaster, Ohio, and Sgt. 1st Class Will D. Lindsay, of Cortez, Colorado. The Pentagon said Saturday they died of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations  in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan.

The soldiers were both based out of Fort Carson, Colorado.

Collette served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal in the 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, 242nd Ordnance Battalion,  where he was attached to a Special Forces Unit in Afghanistan, CBS Columbus, Ohio, affiliate WBNS-TV reports. He was a 2007 graduate of Lancaster High School. According to the Pentagon, he joined the Army in 2010 and arrived at Fort Carson in 2012.

Lindsay enlisted in 2004, the Pentagon said. His deployments include five tours to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn; to Tajikistan in 2016 supporting the Counter-Narcotics Terrorism mission; and Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

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Sgt. 1st Class Will D. Lindsay, 33 (L), and Spc. Joseph P. Collette, 29.  Department of Defense

Lindsay's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award and  Army Good Conduct Medal, the Pentagon said.

Lindsay is survived by his wife and four daughters.

The soldiers' deaths bring the total number of causalities in Afghanistan in 2019 so far to four. There are still 14,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, working in a support and training capacity to Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, which claims control over half the country, and ISIS. 

In December, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to begin drawing up plans to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan. In February, Mr. Trump told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan that his administration is "negotiating with the Taliban."

"We're fighting harder than ever before," Mr. Trump said. "And I think that they will- I think they're tired and, I think everybody's tired. We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home."