Officials Wednesday announced of the death of a young New Yorker who was serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Specialist Kevin O. Hill, of Brooklyn, died October, 4, at Contingency Outpost Dehanna, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when "enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms and indirect fires," the Department of Defense said in a statement.
Hill, 23, had been assigned to the 576th Mobility Augmentation Company, out of Fort Carson, Colo. He was classified as a combat engineer, and had received the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global Warn on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
He was deployed in Afghanistan April 2009 after joining the Army in September 2008.
Wednesday marked the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama, seeking a revamped strategy for the increasingly unpopular conflict, focused more closely with his war council on neighboring Pakistan in the fight against al-Qaida.
The White House also revealed that Obama has in hand — and has for nearly a week — the troop request prepared by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. Previously thought to still be at the Pentagon while Obama and his team held their strategy discussions, McChrystal's recommendations are said to include a range of options, from adding as few as 10,000 additional combat troops to as many as 40,000.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama asked for and received McChrystal's request last Thursday, before he flew to Copenhagen where he lobbied for Chicago's bid to host the Olympics and met with the general on the sidelines. The numbers could become the focus of concentrated White House attention as soon as Friday, Gibbs said.
When former President George W. Bush launched the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan less than a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the country's Taliban government was providing safe haven for Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorists. Eight years later, the Taliban regime is no more and al-Qaida is scattered and weakened. But the Afghan government is considered corrupt and ineffective, Taliban insurgents hoping to retake control are gaining strength and terrorists continue to plan attacks.
This uncertain progress has come at a cost of nearly 800 U.S. lives.