Alaska flags are lowered for Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, who died Monday of small arms fire in the Tagab District of Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Conde, who was raised in Loveland, Colo., was with the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson — the Spartan Brigade. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2017.
Conde ran track in high school and attended the Colorado School of Mines before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2015.
According to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, Conde’s nine-month deployment was coming to an end and his division was headed home to Alaska within weeks, and he was excited to be returning home.
“He had the greatest heart; he loved people,” is how one of his fellow high school track teammates described him.
Pentagon officials said Conde’s death occurred during combat but provided no details about the mission, in which one unidentified American soldier was also wounded. That soldier is in stable condition at Bagram Air Field and is expected to survive. The attack left several Afghan troops also killed and injured.
Conde is the first combat death of the Spartan Brigade’s current deployment. Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander died in December when a vehicle he was in crashed in Nangarhar Province in December.
Gov. Bill Walker lowered Alaska and U.S. flags in Alaska until Friday at sunset.