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Memorial services set for Teague soldier killed in combat in Afghanistan

U.S. Army Special Operations Soldier from Teague killed in combat in Afghanistan
Posted at 10:19 AM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 09:18:23-04

WACO, TX — Memorial services have been set for Sgt. Maj. James G. Ryan Sartor.

Services will be held on Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Teague High School Auditorium. A ceremony to retire Sartor's jersey, number 84, will be held during the pep rally at 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 6 on the football field at Teague High School.

The Department of Defense announced July 14 that a U.S. Army Special Operations Soldier from Teague, Texas died in combat.

Sgt. Maj. James G. Sartor, 40, died on July 13 in Faryab Province, Afghanistan, from injuries he sustained as a part of a small arms fire during combat operations. The Department of Defense said the incident is under investigation. Sartor was supporting Operation Freedom Sentinel when he died.

Sgt. Maj. Sartor was part of the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colorado.

He joined the army in 2001 and was deployed several times to Afghanistan in recent years -- as an infantryman in 2002 and as a Green Beret in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He was deployed with the 10th Special Forces in 2017 and 2019, according to a statement released by Lt. Col. Loren Bymer.

“We’re incredibly saddened to learn of Sgt. Maj. James “Ryan” Sartor’s passing," said commander of 10th SFG (A), Col. Brian R. Rauen. The commander also said Sartor was a "beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional."

In this photo taken on June 6, 2019, U.S. soldiers look out over hillsides during a visit of the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller at the Afghan National Army (ANA) checkpoint in Nerkh district of Wardak province (Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty Images).

Sgt. Maj. Sartor was a highly decorated soldier and the recipient of numerous medals and awards:

  • Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters
  • Presidential Unit Citation Award award
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
  • Army Achievement Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award
  • Valorous Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters
  • Meritorious Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster
  • Army Good Conduct Medal with six knots
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
  • Iraq Campaign Medal with 4 Campaign Stars
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 5
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2
  • NATO Medal
  • Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab
  • Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Special Operations Diver Badge

Sartor's posthumous awards also include the Purple Heart Medal and Bronze Star Medal.

“He led his Soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed," said Col. Rauen.

Central Texas News Now spoke with those close to Sgt. Maj. James G. Sartor in his hometown of Teague who explained him as "a kind, protective, funny and clever friend....his teammates on the football field knew he had their back and was a force to be reckoned with" explained his high school classmate Will Collins.

Another class of 1997 classmate of Sator, Clint Skinner, said "{Sator} will always be my brother."

Teague Superintendent, Chris Skinner said "the community's heartbroken over the news... he was truly loved around here, everyone thinks a lot of him, he's a true hometown hero...theres been many conversations over the years about [Sartor], that we get to sleep at night because we know that guys like [Sartor] are out there protecting the country...because everyone knows what type of guy he is."

In late June, Sgt. James G. Johnston, 24, who had been stationed in Fort Hood also died in Afghanistan when attacked by the Taliban under small arms fire.

Sartor's death was the 10th U.S. Service member to die during hostile fire this year and 12th total this year, according to ABC.

A community candlelight vigil to honor Sgt. Sartor took place on July 16, it was held at Veteran Memorial Park at 8:30 p.m.