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Old 06-28-2019, 06:14 AM
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Arrow Contractors killed this month in Afghanistan were Navy veteran and former Special For

Contractors killed this month in Afghanistan were Navy veteran and former Special Forces soldier
By: Stars & Stripes - Staff & Wire Reports - 6-28-19

Two U.S. military contractors died in separate incidents this month in Afghanistan, according to local news reports.

Christian McCoy, a retired chief warrant officer who dedicated his life to serving in the Army Special Forces, died Monday, according to the Boston Herald. Navy veteran and private contractor Kevin Yali, 27, was killed on June 19 and a funeral procession was held on Thursday in Midland Park, N.J., for him, according to the North Jersey Record.

The military did not release information on either death. The mayor of Midland Park said that Yali was killed in a mortar attack. The Boston Herald reported that the circumstances surrounding McCoy's death were still unclear.

A U.S. Special Operations Command official told Newsweek, which first reported on McCoy’s death, that the military does not have the authority to release information about the deaths of contractors and it’s the responsibility of their employers.

The military, however, often announces when contractors are killed or wounded alongside servicemembers, though it does not release the identities of contractors, as it does for government personnel.

In a letter to the employees of the CACI International subsidiary the Wexford Group, which Newsweek obtained and posted online, company Vice President Mark A. Haselton said McCoy “died of wounds suffered during an operation.” Citing an unnamed Defense Department source, the magazine reported that a mine-resistant armored vehicle was damaged in the incident.

The former Green Beret was part of an expeditionary team supporting the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization which works to find and disrupt improvised explosive device-manufacturing networks and defeat the deadly devices.

A member of the team, known as a JET, was accompanying McCoy’s body back to the States and a casualty assistance team was with his family, Haselton said.

“I know each of us recognizes the hazards associated with the work that you do, especially on the JET," Haselton wrote on Tuesday. "As we remember Chris's family and help them get through the next few days, weeks and months, please never forget that the work that Chris was doing, and in fact the work that all of you do, has saved countless lives."

McCoy's ex-wife, Jan McCoy, told the Herald that he began his military career in 1988 and was stationed at Fort Devens, Mass., as one of his first Special Forces assignments.

"He had a great sense of humor, loved to make other people laugh. ... It goes without saying he was dedicated to the military, I think it ran in his blood," said Jan McCoy, who lives in Palmer, Mass.

He served with the 3rd, 10th and 20th Special Forces groups, according to Special Operations News. He first served as a communications specialist, then as a company operations warrant officer.

He retired in May 2018 and was living in Massachusetts to be closer to his children, Jan McCoy said. They had two children together, 20-year-old Benjamin McCoy and 15-year-old Abigail McCoy.

"He was obviously devoted to his job and his children, he was proud of the young adults they had become," said Jan McCoy.

Upon retirement, McCoy was awarded the Legion of Merit. His body will be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Friday.

McCoy also leaves behind a daughter from his first marriage, 25-year-old Sydney Stewart.

"He died doing what he loved. He lived a hero's life and he died a hero," Jan McCoy said.

At Yali's funeral procession, people who knew him remembered him as a kind, polite young man. Marge Gnehm, whose granddaughter went to prom with Yali, told the North Jersey Record he as an "all around great guy."

“He was always laughing,” she said. “They always had a lot of fun.”

Yali had been deployed to Afghanistan four times in the Navy. He was an independent contractor with Constellis at the time of his death, according to

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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