Another American citizen has been killed fighting in Ukraine, a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
Initial reports on social media identified the man as military veteran Dane Partridge from Idaho. When asked about those reports, a State Department spokesperson did not confirm the man’s identity but verified that a U.S. citizen had recently been killed in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
The spokesperson added that department officials are in touch with the man’s family and that no further details about his death would be provided out of respect.
On Facebook, posts from Partridge’s friends and family members said that he died Tuesday. Fellow veteran Matt Reeves wrote: “Dane Partridge was one of my soldiers in D Company, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, during the 2007-2009 phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Reeves added that Partridge “left his wife, kids, and towing business to risk his life for the freedom of the Ukrainian people.”
Posts on Partridge’s own Facebook account suggest he flew to Poland via Germany on April 26 after asking for donations “to purchase newer body armor or uniforms” earlier that month. On April 27, Partridge posted to say he was “getting on a bus for the border” and would no longer be updating where he was going or what he was doing for operational security reasons. “I will let you all know I’m alive,” he added.
The next update on the account ostensibly came from Partridge’s sister on Tuesday. “Dane is still currently on life support from sustaining life threatening injuries while serving for the country of Ukraine,” she wrote, along with images of Partridge. One showed him smiling, standing in the bed of a pickup truck while kitted out in combat gear—on his arm, a patch can be seen showing Pepe the Frog wearing a green helmet emblazoned with a gold trident in an apparent reference to the coat of arms of Ukraine.
Another image showed Partridge lying apparently unconscious in a bed, a white bandage on his head, tubes in his nose and mouth. The post did not detail how the injuries were inflicted, saying simply that a doctor who examined the damage to Partridge’s spine, brain stem, and neck concluded his injuries were “not conducive to life.”
A later post confirmed that the family had been told Partridge had died. “He was always good for a joke, witty banter and the occasional serious conversation,” it read. “He stayed true to his faith and spiritual convictions till his dying days.”
The post added: “He was a fine soldier who fought with valor and bravery on the battlefield. We have been told that he was known to be at the front of his team leading his men as he would never ask his men to do anything that he wasn’t willing to do. Our lives have forever been changed by this stalwart man.”
News of Partridge’s death comes after Luke Lucyszyn, 31, from South Carolina, and Californian Bryan Young, 51, were killed fighting in eastern Ukraine in July. Their deaths came after U.S. Marine veteran Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, died fighting alongside Ukrainian troops in February. U.S. Army veteran Joshua Jones, 24, from Memphis, Tennessee, died in Ukraine in August.
Reeves’ eulogy for Partridge said that, contrary to social media reports, Partridge’s body remained in Kyiv as the ongoing conflict prevented his remains being repatriated. “His family will go there when peace returns to place a headstone for him,” Reeves said. “However this war ends, whether, as I hope, with a total Ukrainian victory and Putin somehow in prison, after all the dying and loss is over, I hope the Ukrainian people will remember his sacrifice.”