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The U.S soldier who led a rescue mission in northern Iraq to free 70 ISIS hostages earlier this week has been identified. More after the jump.

A spokesman for the U.S led alliance in Iraq has a positive identification on the commando that was killed in the raid against the Islamic State group and he is Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler. Wheeler, 39 and nearly a month short of his 40th birthday, was acting on a tip that dozens of ISIS prisoners were about to be slaughtered. According to Army Colonel Steve Warren on Friday, Wheeler was killed a day prior. The Department of Defense says the cause of Wheeler’s death was from small arms firing during the rescue mission.

This was amidst the battle they pursued to free 70 ISIS hostages from captivity, some of which who were from the Iraqi army as well as police force. The battle was aided by dozens of U.S forces with Special Operations helicopters and Kurdish Special Operations as well, that ultimately led to the prison where the captives were being held, in ruins.

Wheeler was from Roland, Oklahoma and is the first American to die in combat ever since the U.S’s inception of Operation Inherent Resolve – the campaign launched against the Islamic State group which was started last year. Wheeler had been assigned to U.S Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Wheeler graduated high school in 1994 from Muldrow High in Muldrow, Oklahoma and enlisted in the Army a year later to be an infantryman based out of Fort Benning, G.A, according to a statement from the military.

Initially he had been assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington. But years later dating 1997, he moved to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington. Wheeler is decorated as he held various titles such as: infantryman, rifle team leader, squad leader, weapons squad leader, an the anti-tank section leader.

Wheeler was deployed 3 times to Afghanistan as well as Iraq. In 2004, he had been assigned to U.S Army Special Operations Command and again was deployed 11 times over the course of 11 years, as a supportive force in the U.S’s combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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