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Army Rangers killed after IED explosion

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Two U.S. Army Rangers were killed Aug. 8 during combat operations while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Rangers were assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

SGT Andrew Cote Nicol, 23, a native of Kensington, N. H., and SPC Bradley David Rappuhn, 24, a native of Grand Ledge, Mich., were seriously wounded in Kandahar Province, by an enemy IED. Both Rangers were treated immediately by unit medical personnel and evacuated to the nearest treatment facility where they died of their wounds.

Nicol enlisted in the Army in July 2006. He completed one station unit training on post. He also graduated from the Basic Airborne Course, the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, the U.S. Army Ranger Course and the Warrior Leader Course.

For more than three years, he served as a rifleman and most recently as a team leader in 3rd Bn. Nicol was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Purple Heart. He is survived by his parents Roland and Patricia Nicol also of Kensington.

Rappuhn enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 2009 after graduating from Grand Ledge High School in Grand Ledge, Mich.

He completed one station unit training, followed by Airborne School and Ranger School. For almost a year, he served as an anti-armor specialist in 3rd Bn.

He was posthumously promoted to specialist and awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Purple Heart.

Rappuhn is survived by father Cary Rappuhn of Potterville, Mich., and his mother Roxanne Rappuhn and brother Brent Rappuhn, both of Grand Ledge.

“Sergeant Nicol and Private First Class Rappuhn were involved in fighting one of the most heavily defended areas in Afghanistan. Their actions resulted in the destruction of a complex bunker system that included heavy machine guns, mortar systems and the death of seven Taliban,” said COL Michael E. Kurilla, commander of the 75th Ranger Regt.

“They are heroes to the nation, the Army and their families.”

Nicol was on his fifth combat deployment. He previously deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. This was Rappuhn’s first deployment.

“Sergeant Nicol and Private First Class Rappuhn embodied what it meant to be Rangers,” said LTC Mark O’Donnell, 3rd Bn. commander.

“Selfless, dedicated, and professional, their impact across the battalion was profound. Their service and friendship will be sorely missed.”