A member of the U.S. military was killed in Somalia last week for the first time in more than two decades.
According to a news release from the Department of Defense, the service member was killed during an operation against a terrorist group, in a remote area about 40 miles west of Somalia's capital city, Mogadishu.
The department has identified the soldier as 38-year-old Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken of Falmouth, Maine.
U.S. forces are in Somalia as part of an ongoing counterterrorism mission alongside members of the Somali National Army, the department says. Milliken's team was raiding a building being used by the al-Shabaab terror group when they came under fire. He was killed, and two other U.S. service members were wounded.
The department says al-Shabaab is an affiliate of al-Qaida, "a group that has murdered Americans, radicalized and recruited terrorists and fighters in the United States, and has conducted and inspired attacks against Americans and U.S. interests around the world."
The Virginian-Pilot says Senior Chief Petty Officer Milliken was a decorated veteran with 15 years of service; he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star medals. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
"His sacrifice is a stark reminder that Naval Special Operators are forward doing their job, confronting terrorism overseas to prevent evil from reaching our shores,” Rear Admiral Timothy Szymanski, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command said in a statement.
Milliken was a member of SEAL Team Six – that's the team which led the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Daily Beast says this is the second loss for SEAL Team Six since President Donald Trump took office and the fourth U.S. service member reported killed in action in the past two weeks.
Milliken's passing also marks the first U.S. combat death in the African country since 1993's “Black Hawk Down" catastrophe, aka the Battle of Mogadishu, which left 18 American soldiers dead and many more wounded.