DOD Identifies Soldier Killed in Hostage Rescue

The Pentagon identified the soldier killed in a special operations raid to free hostages in Iraq as Army MSgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, 39, of Roland, Okla. Wheeler died after being shot by ISIS fighters during a mission that freed almost 70 Iraqi hostages being held by the group in a prison in Kirkuk Province. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters Friday that Wheeler “ran to the sound of the gun” after the unit he was advising came under fire, and that his actions helped deal ISIS “a clear defeat,” while saving the lives of hostages facing an imminent mass execution. “Their graves had already been prepared,” Carter said. Carter said he is extremely proud of Wheeler, and that he and his wife will be with Wheeler’s family when his remains return to the United States on Saturday. Wheeler was assigned to headquarters US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. Twenty ISIS fighters were killed in the operation, with Peshmerga forces taking five more as prisoners. Four Peshmerga fighters also were injured in the operation.