U.S. Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Reymund R. Transfiguracion, 36, of Waikoloa, Hawaii, died Sunday from wounds after he was injured last Tuesday by an improvised explosive device while on a combat patrol in Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan. His death marked the fourth U.S. military death in Afghanistan this year.
Transfiguracion was born in Sarrat Ilocos Norte, Philippines, on May 20, 1982, according to his U.S. Army biography. He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a motor transport operator in the Hawaii National Guard at 19-years-old, on July 25, 2001. Four years later, he deployed with the Hawaii National Guard in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005-2006.
He joined active duty on February 19, 2008, and would deploy to Iraq from 2008-2009. He next deployed to the Philippines for six months in support of Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines, from 2010-2011.
He then attended Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and was assigned as a horizontal construction engineer in Fort Polk, Louisiana. There he was selected for Special Forces, according to his biography.
After completion of his Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he was subsequently assigned to Joint Base Lewis – McChord and B Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) as an engineer sergeant.
In March 2018, he went on his fourth deployment, and his first to Afghanistan in support of the counterterrorism mission, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Transfiguracion was posthumously promoted to Sgt. 1st Class and awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
His awards and decorations include Meritorious Unit Commendation, Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts, Meritorious Service Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Basic Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.
The U.S. currently has about 16,000 troops in Afghanistan, with approximately 8,400 troops dedicated to training and advising Afghan National and Defense Security Forces. The remainder are dedicated to a counterterrorism mission against al Qaeda, the Islamic State — Khorasan, and other terrorist groups.
President Trump last year approved a new strategy that got rid of any timeline for withdrawal, seeking to hit the Taliban harder and drive them back to the negotiating table.
The strategy also called for employing more air power against the Taliban, and allowing U.S. ground troops to advise and accompany Afghan troops onto the battlefield at the battalion level.
The goal is to help the Afghan government gain 80 percent control of the population in Afghanistan, but that number is currently about 67 percent.
The Trump administration has reportedly allowed State Department officials to explore negotiations with the Taliban, but sasy talks are led by the Afghan government.
Over the past week, Afghan forces faced a fierce onslaught by Taliban forces that some experts have called a “mini-Tet offensive.” Taliban attacked the Afghan military and police at four separate locations, resulting in more than 100 Afghan forces dead and about 20 civilians dead.