TAJI, Iraq — The Department of Defense announced on Wednesday the death of a U.S. Army soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
Sergeant Nathaneil G. Irish, 23, of Billings died on Sunday, Oct. 27, of a non-combat related incident at Camp Taji in Iraq. His death is under investigation.
“Any time that we lose a soldier, whether it’s combat, non-combat, whatever the circumstances it’s a huge blow to the unit, to his fellow soldiers,” said U.s. Army Alaska spokesperson John Pennell over the phone Wednesday. “And we know that is the same for the family. I know that they are grieving now, and we just want them to know that they have our full condolences. And our full support.”
Irish was a small arms and artillery repair NCO assigned to 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Irish joined the Army in January 2015 and served at Fort Bliss Texas, before moving to Fort Wainwright.
Pennell said Irish's job was to make sure all weapons used on the battlefield were in top working order.
“It’s a vital job in the military. His function essentially was keeping the weapons firing. Whether it be small arms like the M-9 pistol, or the M-4 Carbine, to the larger Howitzers that shoot the big shells.”
Irish earned six medals during his time in the army: two army commendation medals, two army achievement medals, the army good conduct medal, and the national civil defense medal.
“The Army doesn’t award medals just because you show up to work, Pennell said. "So, any time that you see a soldier that has as many awards as this, you can tell that this was an outstanding soldier.”
Pennell said Irish's casket should arrive stateside at the Dover Air Force Base Thursday afternoon for designated transfer.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock released a statement regarding Irish's death, it reads in full:
“Lisa and I are heartbroken over the loss of Sgt. Nathan Irish. As a state and nation, we ask our brave soldiers and their families to sacrifice so much to keep our nation and communities safe. We send our condolences to Sgt. Irish’s loved ones during this difficult time.”