US service member killed in Afghanistan just weeks before deployment was to end, officials say

The 22-year-old U.S. service member killed Monday during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan died just weeks before his deployment was scheduled to end, military officials said Tuesday.

Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, 22, of Loveland, Colorado, was killed while supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel and died as a result of “enemy small arms fire” in the Tagab District of Afghanistan on Monday, Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday.

Conde was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Army Alaska Public Affairs spokesman Lt. Col. Martyn Crighton told the Loveland Reporter-Herald that Conde, who was deployed in September 2017, nearly had completed his nine-month deployment, and was set to redeploy to Alaska within the coming weeks.

Another spokesperson, John Pennell, told the Anchorage Daily News that Conde was hit by rifle fire, but did not elaborate further.

His death still is under investigation, according to the DOD statement.

Conde joined the army in 2015, and his death marks the second U.S. combat death in Afghanistan this year, The Washington Post reported.

He graduated from Berthoud High School, where he was a member of his school’s track team, The Herald reported.