A soldier from Arizona and based at Fort Bragg has died from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations in Afghanistan.
The Defense Department said Sunday that 29-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard of Sierra Vista, AZ, died Saturday in Khanabad District, Afghanistan.
Savard was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.
Gov. Jan Brewer has ordered that flags at all State buildings be flown at half-staff until sunset Sunday.
Brewer issued this statement in the wake of his death:
"Please join me in saluting an American hero who gave his life in service to the United States. Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard, 29, of Sierra Vista, was killed Oct. 13, 2012, when he came under small arms fire while on patrol in Khanabad District, Afghanistan.
"Sgt. 1st Class Savard was serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He had been assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and was based in Fort Bragg, NC.
"By now, we should need no reminder of the dangers our brave servicemen and women face while carrying out their duties. More than 2,000 American soldiers have been lost in the execution of Operation Enduring Freedom, launched in defense of this nation following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"Our cause is noble and just, but the grief is no less staggering for the families and friends left behind when one of our own is killed in wartime. I ask that Arizonans join me in offering our sincere gratitude to Sgt. 1st Class Savard, and a prayer for his loved ones. Let us hold in our hearts the courageous men and women in uniform who remain in harm's way so that we can be safe and free."
Savard graduated in 2001 from Buena High School in Sierra Vista, AZ.
He first entered the U.S. Army as a Helicopter Repairer on Aug. 29, 2001, and after completion of Initial Entry Training he was assigned to Bravo Company, 7th Battalion, 159th Aviation in Gieblstadt, Germany, where he served for two years as a UH-60 repairman. While assigned to the 159th Aviation, Savard deployed once to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In June 2004, Savard attended and graduated from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School to become a Special Forces weapons sergeant. After graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course, Savard was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC, where he served as a Special Forces Company Assistant Operations Sergeant and a Special Forces weapons sergeant.
In 2008, Savard was assigned to Operations Detachment Group Support Battalion, 3rd SFG (A) where he served as a Senior Special Forces weapons sergeant. While assigned to 3rd SFG (A), Savard deployed three times to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Savard was assigned in May 2010 as a Special Operations Team member, U.S. Army Special Operations Command. For more than two years he performed this duty, deploying twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Savard previously served one deployment to Iraq and this was his fifth deployment to Afghanistan.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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