The Defense Department says a veteran Green Beret in the Washington National Guard has been killed in action in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock of Des Moines was on his third combat tour when he was killed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

The 30-year-old McClintock joined the Washington National Guard in 2014 after several years as an active duty soldier. He deployed with the Washington National Guard's A Company 19th Special Forces Group in July 2015.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington National Guard, said McClintock was "one of the best of the best." He said the Guard will provide ongoing support to McClintock's family during the grieving and healing process.

Gov. Jay Inslee called McClintock "a true American hero who stood up to protect his state and nation."