The Department of Defense released the names of three soldiers, one from San Diego County, who died while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). They died Feb. 3 in Timagara, Pakistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
Staff Sergeant Mark Stets Jr., 39, of El Cajon, California, was a member of the 8th Psychological Operations Bn., 4th Psychological Operations Group. His name was released along with Sergeant 1st Class David J. Hartman and Sgt. 1st Class Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller, 96th Civil Affairs Bn., 95th Civil Affairs Bde.
They were among the U.S. military personnel in Pakistan and were there to conduct training at the invitation of the Pakistan Frontier Corps, according to a U.S. Central Command press release. They were in Lower Dir, District of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, to attend the inauguration ceremony of a girls' school that had recently been renovated with U.S. humanitarian assistance.
Stets was in his second deployment of OEF. He had previously served in Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was a senior psychological operations sergeant.
Stets is survived by his wife, Nina, and three daughters, Jessica, December, and Rachael, of Fayetteville, N.C. He was a native of California.
The incident is under investigation.