Georgia-based U.S. Army soldier killed in combat

A Georgia based U.S. Army Ranger was killed in combat in Afghanistan on Thursday. 

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher A. Celiz, 32, died in Paktiya province during combat operations while in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. At the time of his death, the South Carolina native was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. 

Sgt. Celiz was hurt by enemy fire, then treated immediately and evacuated to a medical facility where he later died. 

Celiz enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 2007. He was serving as the battalion mortar platoon sergeant at the time of his death and was in the process of reclassifying to the infantry branch. 

"The 75th Ranger Regiment suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Sgt. 1st Class Chris Celiz. The Celiz family has been a critical component of our team and their community in Savannah, Georgia," said Col. Brandon Tegtmeier, Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment. "Chris was a national treasure who led his Rangers with passion, competence, and an infectiously positive attitude no matter the situation. He will be greatly missed."

Celiz was serving on his fifth deployment when he was killed. He's been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.