The Defense Department on Friday identified an Army ranger killed during combat in Afghanistan as a Summerville native.
32-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz of Summerville died of wounds from enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations at a medevac landing zone in the eastern Paktia province, according to the short announcement.
Celiz was based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command said Celiz had been in the Army since 2007 and was selected for the Rangers in 2013. He served with Company D as a mortar platoon sergeant.
The release said Celiz posthumously received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.
Paktia is in eastern Afghanistan along its border with Pakistan. Parts of it are considered a safe haven for Taliban-affiliated insurgents.
He is the first South Carolina native to die in Afghanistan combat since 2014.