3rd Fort Bliss soldier killed in May 14 IED attack has been identified

EL PASO, Texas - Pvt. 1st Class Cody James Towse, 21, was killed when his squad was attacked

by enemy forces using an Improvised Explosive Device on May 14 in Sanjaray, Afghanistan.

He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Spc. William Gilbert and Spc. Mitchell Daehling, two other members of PFC Towse's squad, were killed in the same attack

Towse was born in California but was most recently a resident of Elk Ridge, Utah.  He was a Combat Medic who entered the Army from Salt Lake City, September 2011.  He received Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonardwood, Mo. and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Tx.  He arrived at Fort Bliss, his first permanent duty station, in March 2012. 

Gilbert's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, Army Service Ribbon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, and the Combat Medic Badge.  This was his first combat tour.  He leaves no dependents.  He is remembered by his mother and father.

Kirk Daehling, the father of Specialist Mitchell Daehling, said he'd remember his son as someone who "just loved life... He always had a smile ... He was proud to serve his country."

Daehling leaves behind his wife, Samantha - whom he married last June - and two siblings.

William Gilbert's friends said on social media that Gilbert's wife, Monica Gilbert, was set to give birth to the couple's first child at the end of this month. They got married right before he deployed. Gilbert also studied at El Paso Community College.

Early Friday morning, Monica Gilbert shared a Facebook status telling family and friends, "To all the guys that were there with William Gilbert thank you, you guys were the last ones to see him and try to save him. I love you all and you will always have a place in my heart."

A fourth soldier -- Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey C. Baker, 29, of Hesperia, Calif. -- was also killed in the incident. He was assigned to 766th Ordnance Company, 63rd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group out of Fort Stewart, Ga.

According to Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, the explosive device used in this most recent attack appears to have been several hundred pounds.  Pittard added that multiple IEDs may have been used in the attack.

"There is no joke about it, it is tough combat that is going on," said Pittard.

Five Fort Bliss soldiers died in a previous IED blast in Afghanistan on May 4, 2013. The five soldiers killed in that blast were 1st Lt. Brandon J. Landrum, Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips IV, Spc. Kevin Cardoza, Spc. Brandon Joseph Prescott and Spc. Thomas Paige Murach. The soldiers were in the Maiwand District in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province working a mounted patrol when their vehicle was struck with an improvised explosive device. All the Soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, which deployed from Fort Bliss in December 2012.

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