FORT HOOD, Texas (CBSDFW.COM)  – A soldier from Fort Hood was killed during combat in Afghanistan on Tuesday, June 25, the Department of Defense confirmed on Thursday.

Sgt. James Gregory Johnston, 24, of Trumansburg, New York, was assigned to 79th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 71st Ordnance Group at Fort Hood since February 2019.

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Sgt. James G. Johnston (courtesy: Department of Defense)

Johnston, along with another soldier, Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, died in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as a result of “wounds sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations,” according to a Department of Defense news release.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of Sergeant James Johnston. He was the epitome of what we as Soldiers all aspire to be: intelligent, trained, always ready. We will honor his service and his sacrifice to this nation as we continue to protect others from explosive hazards around the world,” said Lt. Col. Stacy M. Enyeart, commander of 79th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

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Johnston entered active-duty military service in July 2013 as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist.

Johnston deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in March 2019.

Johnston’s awards and decorations include a Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge and Explosive Ordnance Badge.

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The incident remains under investigation by the Department of Defense.