On Saturday, July 13, the Pentagon announced the death of Sgt. Maj. James G. “Ryan” Sartor, 40, a Green Beret with the US Army. Sartor was killed by enemy small-arms fire during combat operations in the Faryab province of Afghanistan.
Originally from Teague, an east Texas city located in Freestone County, Sartor was a sergeant major assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) serving his seventh combat deployment overseas. Details about Sartor’s death have yet to be released, but a statement from the Department of Defense said that the incident was currently under investigation.
Col. Brian R. Rauen, commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) said of Sgt. Major Sartor’s passing, “Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional. He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed.”
Before completing the Special Forces Qualification course and beginning his service as a Green Beret in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 2005, Sartor served in the 3rd Infantry Division upon his enlistment in 2001.
He first deployed to Iraq in 2002 as an infantryman before deploying again in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010 as a Green Beret with the 2nd Battalion, 10th Group. Additionally, he deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 10th Group in both 2017 and 2019.
Altogether, Sartor received more than two dozen awards and decorations during the course of his military service. Some of his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation Award, and the National Defense Service Medal among others.
Upon his recent death, Sgt. Maj. Sartor was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medal posthumously.
Since its beginning in October 2001, Sartor is one of more than 2,000 US service members killed during the course of Operation Enduring Freedom.
He is the 12th military service member to die in Afghanistan this year, nine of which were due to combat-related incidents.
Governor Greg Abbott ordered the flags at the Texas capitol to be lowered to half-mast on Monday in honor of Sgt. Maj. Sartor’s sacrifice.
Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.