Metro-East News

Illinois Army ranger killed in Afghanistan

A 2013 Normal Community High School graduate was among two U.S. Army Rangers killed in action Thursday in Afghanistan, according to the Pantagraph.

Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, son of Kevin and Vondra Rodgers, of Bloomington, died “as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations,” the Defense Department said.

Rodgers, and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio, were killed, and a third soldier was wounded, when they came under attack during a raid against insurgents in Nangarhar Province. They were conducting an operation with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces at the time, according to the Pantagraph.

The Defense Department said the incident was under investigation as the soldiers may have been killed in a friendly-fire incident during the three-hour firefight with Islamic State militants, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, whose district includes part of the Bloomington area, said his thoughts and prayers were with the Rodgers’ family and friends.

“We owe a tremendous debt to Sgt. Rodgers for his service to our nation,” Davis said. “His loss is a solemn reminder that the freedom we enjoy each day in this country is not free. Sgt. Rodgers joins a long line of heroes whose service and sacrifice to our nation will never be forgotten.”