Sgt. Joel David Clarkson, 23, was seriously wounded in a fierce engagement with a heavily armed enemy force in the Farah Province on March 13. He was taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany where he died on March 16.
Clarkson served with served with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
He was on his fifth deployment in support of the War on Terror with three previous deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.
"Sgt. Clarkson was the epitome of the Ranger Team Leader -- he cared deeply for his men, always led from the front, and was at his best when the situation was the most dire," said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment. "He is a hero to our Nation, the Army, and his Family."
According to the Army, the Rangers ultimately killed eight enemy fighters during that battle, destroyed their base of operations along with weapons and ammunition, and captured a key leader of the terrorist network, according to official military reports.
"Thoughtful, fearless, and engaging, Sgt. Joel Clarkson possessed that intangible stuff we desire most in Ranger – the stuff of which legends are made," said Col. Mark Odom, commander, 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regt. Clarkson enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Fairbanks, Ala. He began his Army Ranger career when he was assigned to Company A, 2nd Bn., where he served as a grenadier, Squad Automatic Weapon gunner and team leader.
Clarkson is survived by his wife, Cassandra and their son, Orion of Norfolk, Va.; his parents, Steve and Karen Clarkson of Fairbanks, Ala.; and his older sister, Jessica.