Metro

Navy SEAL killed in Somalia praised as hometown hero

The Navy SEAL from Falmouth, Maine, who was killed in Somalia last week was praised in a tribute posted by the Falmouth police as a “hometown hero” who answered a calling to serve his country.

Kyle Milliken, a 38-year-old senior chief petty officer, died Thursday during a mission in support of Somali army forces fighting Al Shabab, an extremist group affiliated with Al Qaeda. A Pentagon spokesman said US special operations troops had come under fire after US aircraft delivered Somali forces to the remote target area, about 40 miles west of the capital of Mogadishu.

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“A kid from Falmouth, Maine, ends up on a SEAL team and dies defending every single one of us in Somalia,” the Facebook post reads. “This doesn’t happen by accident. This happens because of a young man who was driven to make this world a better place and was willing to do so at all costs.”

Milliken’s death is the first in Somalia for a member of the US military since the battle for Mogadishu in 1993.

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Milliken, who enlisted in 2002 and was based in Virginia Beach, was part of an extended family that has lived in the Falmouth area for generations, the post said. He attended Cheverus High School in Portland, where he ran track and was part of a 1,600-meter relay team that set a state Class A record in 1998. Milliken later competed for the University of Connecticut.

Milliken received four Bronze Stars, which are awarded for “heroic or meritorious service in a combat zone.”

“There is likely a Kyle Milliken in every community,” the Falmouth police post read. “Milliken happens to be from Falmouth. His accomplishments while living speak to his character and motivation to live, love, fight, and succeed. Even if it meant dying to do so.”

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A small number of special operations forces and advisers has been dispatched to Somalia in recent years to help the Somali government in its long-running fight against Al Shabab. Last month, US officials announced they also were sending dozens of regular troops to Somalia in the largest such deployment there in approximately two decades.

Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at brian.macquarrie@globe.com.
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