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JBER soldier killed by gunfire in Afghanistan was near the end of his deployment

A 22-year-old soldier based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was killed by gunfire in Afghanistan Monday, U.S. military officials say.

Spc. Gabriel David Conde (U.S. Army)

Spc. Gabriel David Conde, an airborne infantryman, was nearing the end of his nine-month deployment, John Pennell, a U.S. Army Alaska spokesman, said Tuesday.

Conde deployed to Afghanistan in September 2017 with the Anchorage-based 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, known as the "4-25," according to a statement from U.S. Army Alaska.

About 2,500 soldiers from the 4-25 left Anchorage for Afghanistan last year as part of the mission. Most of them went overseas in September and a few went during the following months, Pennell said.

Conde was killed by "enemy small arms fire" in Afghanistan's Tagab District, the statement said.

Pennell said Conde was hit by rifle fire. He said he had no additional information Tuesday about the circumstances surrounding Conde's death. The incident is under investigation, he said.

Conde's death marked the 4-25's first combat death during its current deployment. It's the second U.S. combat death in Afghanistan this year, The Washington Post reported.

Conde joined the Army in Loveland, Colorado, in August 2015, and was assigned to U.S. Army Alaska in April 2016. The deployment in September was his first, Pennell said.

Gov. Bill Walker ordered on Tuesday that all United States and Alaska state flags be immediately lowered to half-staff until sunset Friday in honor of Conde.

"Specialist Conde's service and sacrifice to his country is worthy of our highest respect," Walker said in a statement. "We express our deepest sympathies to his family, community, and brigade."

The 4-25 is deployed as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel, the U.S. counterterrorism mission.

Another soldier with the 4-25, Staff Sgt. David T. Brabander, died in Afghanistan in December in a rollover crash that was not related to combat, the military said.

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