Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine, was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab on May 5.

FALMOUTH, Maine (AP) — The Pentagon identified a Maine man on Saturday as the Navy SEAL killed in a military operation in Somalia, the first American to die in combat in the African country since 1993.

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, was killed during an operation Thursday against the extremist group al-Shabab. A Pentagon spokesman said that U.S. special operations troops had come under fire after U.S. aircraft delivered Somali forces to the target area.

“Senior Chief Kyle Milliken embodied the warrior spirit and toughness infused in our very best Navy SEALs,” said Rear Admiral Timothy Szymanski, who is in charge of the Navy SEALs. “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 asked for privacy in a statement released by Naval Special Warfare Command.

“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,” it said. “While we appreciate your interest, we ask you respect our need for privacy.”

The Pentagon said Milliken is from Falmouth. It’s unclear if his family lives in Maine or if he grew up there.

Milliken enlisted in 2002 and has been stationed with the East-Coast Based Special Warfare Unit. He has been awarded more than a dozen citations, ribbons and medals. He was also an Enlisted Freefall Parachutist.

Last month, the U.S. said it was sending dozens of regular troops to Somalia in the largest such deployment there in about two decades. The U.S. in recent years has sent a small number of special operations forces and counterterrorism advisers to Somalia and conducted a number of airstrikes.

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