Two Fort Benning Rangers killed by IED in Afghanistan

Two Fort Benning Rangers were killed on Sunday in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked their unit, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Sgt. Andrew C. Nicol, 23, of Kensington, N.H., and Pfc. Bradley D. Rappuhn, 24, of Grand Ledge, Mich., died at Zhari Kandahar of wounds sustained when attackers used an improvised explosive device. Both were assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, the defense department said.

Medical personnel immediately treated the Rangers and they were taken to the closest medical facility, where they later died.

“Sgt. Nicol and Pfc. Rappuhn were involved in fighting one of the most heavily defended areas in Afghanistan,” said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, in a release. “Their actions resulted in the destruction of a complex bunker system that included heavy machine guns, mortar systems and the death(s) of seven Taliban. They are heroes to the nation, the Army and their families.”

Nicol enlisted in the Army in July 2006 after graduating high school. He completed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program in March 2007 and was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, where he served as a rifleman and recently as a team leader.

Rappuhn enlisted in the Army in January 2009 after graduating high school. He completed the One Station Unit Training as an infantryman and graduated from the Basic Airborne Course, after which he was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment and served as an anti-armor specialist.

Both Rangers were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart.

It was the first deployment for Rappuhn and the fifth for Nicol, who had previously been twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.

“Sgt. Nicol and Pfc. Rappuhn embodied what it meant to be Rangers,” said Lt. Col. Mark O’Donnell, 3rd Battalion commander, in a release. “Selfless, dedicated and professional, their impact across the battalion was profound. Their service and friendship will be sorely missed.”