MOGADISHU, Somalia (NEWS CENTER) -- The Department of Defense announced on Saturday the death of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken of Falmouth. He was 38-years-old.
Milliken grew up in Falmouth but is a graduate of Cheverus High School where he was a top track star. Milliken lived with his family in Virginia.
Milliken was killed and two others were wounded when they were attacked while on a mission, according to US Africa Command.
A US military official confirmed Milliken is the first U.S. service member killed in action in Somalia since 1993, when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 American soldiers were killed in the Battle for Mogadishu.
The incident occurred Thursday during an operation against local al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab west of Mogadishu.
The US troops were part of an ongoing US military program to advise and assist Somali ground forces.
Milliken’s enlisted in the Navy in 2002 and quickly entered the SEALs. He was based on the East Coast since 2004.
His awards include Bronze Star with Combat “V” (4), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2) and Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V.”
“Senior Chief Kyle Milliken embodied the warrior spirit and toughness infused in our very best Navy SEALs,” Rear Adm. Timothy Szymanski, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command said in a Saturday statement.
“His sacrifice is a stark reminder that Naval Special Operators are forward doing their job, confronting terrorism overseas to prevent evil from reaching our shores.”
Milliken's family also released a statement, saying "The Milliken family would like to extend their gratitude to the community for their interest in our beloved Kyle. He was a devoted father and son, a true professional and a wonderful husband. While we appreciate your interest, we ask you respect our need for privacy."
Governor LePage added his condolences to Milliken's family. "There are no words that may provIde comfort during this difficult time, but know he is a man we are forever indebted for his service, sacrifice and protection of the freedoms we hold dear."
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree also expressed sadness at the loss of Milliken. “Today our hearts are heavy with the loss of U.S. Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken—a local hero who died yesterday in the line of duty. Those who knew Senior Chief Kyle Milliken remember him as an amazing athlete who could do flips on skis and run for miles...may we never forget his extraordinary bravery and incredible sacrifice.”
U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R - Maine) and Angus King (I - Maine) released a joint statement saying in part:
"We hope that his family and loved ones are comforted in knowing that the people of Maine and our nation are eternally grateful for his selfless service."