Staff Sgt. Jonathan D. Davis, of Kayenta, Ariz., died Friday in the Helmand province during combat, according to a Monday Department of Defense press release.
Davis was assigned to the Headquarters Battalion, 32nd Georgian Liaison Team, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., the release said.
Calls to Camp Pendleton seeking information on Davis' service record were not returned Tuesday.
People from around the Four Corners sent their condolences to the Davis' family, who live outside Kayenta. Many Marines expressed their support and admiration for Davis and his family.
"The Navajo Nation mourns the loss of a warrior who gave his life defending freedom. We are saddened by the loss of our warrior and we offer our prayers to the family during this difficult time," Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said Monday night in a press release posted to Facebook.
The Department of Defense announced Davis' death Monday, though it remains unclear how he died.
The Kayenta community knew Davis for his role in bringing the rural Navajo community two state high school basketball championships in the late 1990s, the Navajo Nation press release said.
The Marine Corps Times reported that he joined the Marine Corps in 1997 and received a Purple Heart after combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The publication also reported that
"His presence will be missed," Shelly said.
To honor Davis, Shelly ordered the Navajo Nation flag to be lowered from sunrise Tuesday through Friday, and again on the day of his funeral service, which is still pending.
Davis is the 14th Navajo member of the armed forces to die supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Jenny Kane may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane