HARRISBURG – Two Pennsylvania Army National Guard soldiers were killed in an ambush in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, early Monday morning.
Master Sgt. Scott R. Ball, 38, Carlisle, and Sgt. Jan M. Argonish, 26, Scranton, were on a re-supply mission in a six-vehicle convoy when the ambush occurred.
An active duty Army officer and two Afghan National Army soldiers were also killed in the attack. Three U.S. service members and seven Afghan soldiers were reported injured. The identity of the active duty officer has not been released.
“We mourn the loss of these dedicated soldiers and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Master Sergeant Ball and Sergeant Argonish during this difficult time,” said Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, state adjutant general. “These brave warriors proudly represented their commonwealth and country and, sadly, made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Ball and Argonish are the first Pennsylvania National Guard combat losses in Afghanistan. Twenty-seven Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
The soldiers were part of an embedded training team assisting the Afghan National Army. The teams help train, advise and execute missions with Afghan and coalition forces in the region. The soldiers mobilized last October and have been in Afghanistan since February. Their deployed unit was the
Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 55th Brigade Forward.
As a civilian, Ball was an eight-year veteran of the Pennsylvania state police, assigned to Troop H in Carlisle. He was a former active duty soldier and enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1992. Ball is survived by his wife, Leslie; a 10-year-old-son; a 6-year-old daughter; and his mother.
Argonish was a correctional officer at the U.S. Penitentiary Canaan, Waymart, Wayne County. He was an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran and volunteered for the embedded training team mission. Argonish is survived by an 8-year-old son; his parents; and two sisters.
Both soldiers will be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge.
Memorial services have not been scheduled at this time.