DoD identifies airman who died in non-combat incident in Syria

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Umatilla, Ore. airman died March 28 in Syria in “a non-combat related incident while deployed in support of combat operations,” according to the Department of Defense.

Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, 25, was serving in northern Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the DOD. No details were provided of his manner of death.

Bieren was assigned to the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

A press release from the base reads that Bieren, “a security forces Airman died from suspected natural causes while deployed to northern Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.”

“Staff Sgt. Bieren was a valuable and beloved member of our team and will be sorely missed,” said Col. Douglas Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander. “His dedication to his country was evident in his actions – he was a superb Airman.”

Bieren enlisted in 2010 and had been at Peterson since June of 2014.

The base press release included his military achievements:

His awards and decorations include the Aerial Achievement Medal with one device, Air Force Achievement Medal with two devices, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with one device, National Defense Service Medal, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with one device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with one device, Air Force Longevity Service, U. S. Air Force NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one device, and the Air Force Training Ribbon.