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Sgt. 1st Class Riley G. Stephens, 39, of Tolar, Texas, died Sept. 28 of wounds received from small-arms fire in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.
He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., and was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Stephens enlisted as an infantryman in the U.S. Army in 1993. Upon completion of his initial training, he was assigned to 1st Bn., 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, at Fort Campbell, Ky. There he served as a squad automatic weapon gunner, radio-telephone operator and team leader with Company B. His next assignment was with the 1st Bn., 17th Inf. Reg., Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where he served as a Scout Section Leader.
Stephens volunteered for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course, and would graduate from the Special Forces Qualification Course in March 2005. Upon earning his Special Forces tab, he reported to the 1st Bn., 3rd SFG (A) as a Special Forces medical sergeant. He would serve on five separate deployments to Afghanistan with the 1st Bn.
His military education includes U.S. Army Air Assault School, U.S. Army Airborne School, Warrior Leader’s Course, Advanced Leader’s Course, Senior Leader’s Course, Hostage Negotiation Course, Advanced Cardiac Life Support Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, U.S. Army Ranger School and the Special Forces Qualification Course.
Stephens’ military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, two Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, the Army Achievement Medal with Valor Device, four Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon Military, two Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbons, the NATO Medal, Air Assault Badge, the Basic Parachutist Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Ranger Tab and the Special Forces Tab.
He is survived by his wife, three children and father.
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