ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis man has been identified as one of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing Wednesday in Syria.
According to the Department of Defense, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York; and DOD civilian Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, Missouri were killed Wednesday in the explosion in Manbij.
All three died “as a result of wounds sustained from a suicide improvised explosive device,” according to the military.
Wirtz, a De Smet High School graduate, was 42.
The fourth American killed in Syria was a contractor supporting the Defense Department, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The Pentagon will not release his name since he was not military.
Kent was a sailor assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, based at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. Farmer served on six overseas combat tours and was a decorated soldier awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Wirtz, a former US Navy SEAL, was an intelligence expert in Syria with the troops hoping to collect information about security and adversaries in the area.
Word of his passing spread quickly among alumni.
“People just want to make sure that everyone is aware and pray for our lost alumnus and his family who are grieving,” said De Smet President Corey Quinn.
Wirtz graduated from De Smet in 1995. He played on the Spartan football team.
Family members said Wirtz spent hours training to stay in shape and enjoyed mixed martial arts fighting. He loved fishing. Wirtz’s grandfather served in the Navy during World War II.
Wirtz leaves behind family and friends who loved him and former classmates who share that love and their grief.
“What will likely happen our alumni will reach out and get together to figure out a way to honor his life that might include a memorial mass,” Quinn said.
Wirtz became part of an international story back in 2002 when he participated in the rescue of Jessica Lynch, an American prisoner in the Iraq War. She was also the first female troop ever to be rescued.
The bombing is still under investigation. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The explosion in the northern city of Manbij Wednesday killed the four Americans and at least 10 other people. Eight civilians and two fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the blast, a senior commander from the Manbij military council told CNN.
The US-led coalition Operation Inherent Resolve said Wednesday that the service members were “conducting a routine patrol” at the time of the explosion. Three other US service members were injured in the attack.
The attack came less than a month after President Donald Trump announced that US troops would withdraw from Syria.