U.S. soldier killed in Somalia firefight identified

June 10 (Reuters) - A U.S. commando killed in a Somalia firefight against al-Shabaab militants was identified as U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad, 26, of Chandler, Arizona, the Department of Defense said late Saturday.

Sgt. Conrad was killed and four other commandos were wounded Friday during an operation against the militants, the U.S. military said.

Conrad, born in Mesa, Arizona, was attached to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Airborne, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said Lt. Colonel Robert Bockholt, an Army spokesman.

He was a Human Intelligence, noncommissioned officer.


(Photo via U.S. Army)

Conrad, and the U.S. special operations forces were fighting alongside about 800 troops from the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defense Forces when they were attacked about 2:45 p.m. Friday by mortars and small arms fire.

The troops had been on a mission to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas as well as villages the militants controlled, "and establish a permanent combat outpost" to expand the reach of the Somali state, the U.S. military's Africa Command said in a statement.

Although one of the wounded Americans did not receive additional care after being treated in the field, the other three were medically evacuated for follow-up care.

Conrad was previously deployed to Afghanistan twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, for a total of more than 13 months.

He had received numerous awards and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, Bockholt said.

About 500 U.S. troops are deployed in Somalia.

Related: See inside the current crisis in Somalia: 

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Somalia drought and famine crisis
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Somalia drought and famine crisis

Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, cries next to his mother Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, and brother, Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, as a nurse struggles to find a vein for an injection at a government run health clinic on February 25, 2017 in Shada, Somalia. Abdullahi was diagnosed with bronchitis, Abdulrahman with pneumonia. Both children were also suffering from severe malnutrition.The family lost all of their animals due to drought and had traveled 150 kilometers in search of a better situation. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

People and livestock gather at a nearly dried up riverbed on February 24, 2017 in Dhudo, Somalia. People travel up to 75 kilometers to get water, as it is one of the only sources left in the region. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Fatun Mohamed Sareye, 30, sits at her home with her family at the Shabelle IDP (internally displaced people) camp on February 26, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Sareye lost both her husband and her sister in a water born illness in the had killed a reported 20 people in the past two weeks. She now is charged with taking care of 11 children, seven of her own and four of his sisters. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

A young boy suffering from malnutrition lies in a bed inside the malnutrition ward at Garowe General Hospital on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

A dead cow sits just outside an IDP (Internally Displaced People) camp on February 24, 2017 in Karin Sarmayo, Somalia. Brief rains brought an estimated 100,000 people to the region in search of land for their livestock, but very limited pasture has lead to mass animal deaths and a growing number of IDP camps. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Goats eat from the trash in a dried riverbed on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, cries next to his mother Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, and brother, Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, as a nurse struggles to find a vein for an injection at a government run health clinic on February 25, 2017 in Shada, Somalia. Abdullahi was diagnosed with bronchitis, Abdulrahman with pneumonia. Both children were also suffering from severe malnutrition.The family lost all of their animals due to drought and had traveled 150 kilometers in search of a better situation. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Boys look out over a dried riverbed on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

A young girl suffering from malnutrition lies in a bed inside the malnutrition ward at Garowe General Hospital on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

A man draws water from a nearly dried up riverbed on February 24, 2017 in Dhudo, Somalia. People travel up to 75 kilometers to get water, as it is one of the only sources left in the region. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Fardowsa Abdullahi is measured at a government run health clinic on February 24, 2017 in Dhudo, Somalia. The two-year-old girl weighed 6.5 kilograms and was suffering from severe malnutrition. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Women and children sit inside the malnutrition ward at Garowe General Hospital on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Medical staff treat a child suffering from malnutrition at Garowe General Hospital on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Women and children sit inside the malnutrition ward at Garowe General Hospital on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Boys watch as water is pumped from a nearly dried up riverbed on February 24, 2017 in Dhudo, Somalia. People travel up to 75 kilometers to get water, as it is one of the only sources left in the region. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Medical staff treat a child suffering from malnutrition at Garowe General Hospital on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Boys play football in an empty lot on February 27, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, looks at her son Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, who was diagnosed with pneumonia and severe malnutrition, at a government run health clinic on February 25, 2017 in Shada, Somalia. Mumin's family lost all of their animals due to drought and had traveled 150 kilometers in search of a better situation. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Recently dug graves sit at the edges of a cemetery at the Shabelle IDP (internally displaced people) camp on February 26, 2017 in Garowe, Somalia. The camp had seen an reported 20 deaths from a water born illness in the past two weeks. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

A doctor checks on a young girl at a government run clinic inside an IDP (Internally Displaced People) camp on February 24, 2017 in Karin Sarmayo, Somalia. Brief rains brought an estimated 100,000 people to the region in search of land for their livestock, but very limited pasture has lead to mass animal deaths and a growing number of IDP camps. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

People and livestock gather at a nearly dried up riverbed on February 24, 2017 in Dhudo, Somalia. People travel up to 75 kilometers to get water, as it is one of the only sources left in the region. Somalia is currently on the brink of famine with over half of the country's population facing acute food insecurity according to the United Nations. The intensifying crisis has humanitarian groups racing to stop a repeat of 2011, in which 260,000 people died of famine throughout country.

(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

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Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's central government and establish its own rule based on its interpretation of Islamic law.

Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group has lost control of most of Somalia's cities and towns, but it retains a strong presence in regions outside the capital.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Richard Pullin)

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