A Tragic Start to 2018: Army Special Forces Soldier Killed in Afghanistan on New Year’s Day

By: - January 4, 2018

“SFC Golin is survived by his six-year-old daughter Vlada and his parents David and Elena.”

(Achin District, Afghanistan)  The United States Army Special Forces soldier killed in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan has been identified as Sergeant First Class Mihail Golin of Fort Lee, New Jersey.  SFC Golin was assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). A Latvian immigrant, SFC Golin enlisted in the United States Army a mere matter of months after arriving in the US.

SFC Golin, 34, died of injuries sustained from small arms fire while his unit was conducting a dismounted patrol in the eastern Afghanistan province of Nangarhar.  The Green Beret enlisted in the US Army as an Infantryman in January 2005, less than a year after arriving in the United States from his native Latvia.

After completing basic training, advanced individual training (AIT), and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, SFC Golin was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  Before volunteering for Special Forces training, SFC Golin deployed to Iraq once and to Afghanistan twice.

He graduated the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) in 2014 as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B) and was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Carson, Colorado.

“Sergeant First Class Mihail Golin served our nation with courage and distinction, and his death is a loss that will be felt across New Jersey. Let us honor Sergeant Golin’s extraordinary courage by reflecting on his commitment to the nation he loved, and by recognizing the profound debt of gratitude we owe to him and to his family for their sacrifice. I extend my deepest condolences to Sergeant Golin’s family and friends during this very difficult time, and my thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers injured in this tragic incident.” – Senator Cory Booker

Four other American service members were wounded in the same firefight; two are reportedly in stable condition at a medical facility, with the other two service members returning to duty.  SFC Golin’s unit has been deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since September 2017.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own.  At this very difficult time, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen and wounded brothers.” -GEN John W. Nicholson, Commander US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)

Nangarhar Province has been a highly kinetic area in Afghanistan, with an estimated 600 to 800 ISIS Khorasan (ISIS-K) fighters in the province.  Seven of the eleven US Afghanistan combat fatalities in 2017 occurred in the province.  The most recent combat fatality in Afghanistan was also a Green Beret, Staff Sergeant Aaron R. Butler.  SSG Butler was assigned to 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), an Army National Guard unit.

“I can’t describe.  It’s impossible.  I’m still proud of him.” -David Golin, father of SFC Golin

SFC Golin’s awards include the Purple Heart Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Special Forces Tab; Ranger Tab; Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; and the Parachutist Badge, according to the Army release.

SFC Golin is survived by his six-year-old daughter Vlada and his parents David and Elena.

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