The Department of Defense says an Oklahoma civilian employee died in Afghanistan Thursday.
The Pentagon says 40-year-old Michael G. Sauro of McAlester died October 20 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A U.S. official said the attack happened at an Afghan military ammunition supply point outside of Kabul. They said the Americans were visiting the site as part of their train, advise and assist mission when a lone gunman opened fire on them at the entry control point.
Officials said the assailant was wearing an Afghan army uniform and was killed.
“Mike was the type of person who no matter what you asked of him, he was always willing to lend a helping hand to everybody,” said Deborah Schreiner, Chief of HAZMAT Training at the Defense Ammunition Center. “He was such a joy to work with and always so upbeat. He was an exceptional person and employee.”
Sauro deployed on September 17, and was to return to the U.S. in March. It was his third deployment. He began his federal civilian service in December of 1999 and spent his career working for the Defense Ammunition Center, McAlester, and Fort Riley, Kansas, and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, satellite training locations.
“Mikey was a stand-up guy, both as a manager and a friend to all of us members of the DAC instructor cadre,” said Lyn Roberts, an instructor and co-worker at the Defense Ammunition Center. “We will miss his sunny disposition, as well as his genuine kindness. I, for one, will have a smile on my face when I think of the stories he'd tell. We are lucky to have had Mikey in our lives.”
Family members say he was a graduate of Illinois State University and a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Officials say Sauro’s remains are en route to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, where they will be transported to McAlester for services. Funeral arrangements are pending.
The release says 26-year-Old Sergeant Douglas J. Riney of Fairview, Illinois also died. He was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas.
Riney's awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and NATO Medal.
Two other men, Richard Alford and Rodney Henderson, were also injured. Alford is in stable condition and Henderson suffered minor injuries. Both men are set to return to the United States.
The incident in Afghanistan is under investigation.