FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, May 27, 2015) - Master Sgt. Pablo A. Ruiz III, 37, of Melbourne, Fla., died May 24, 2015 of non-combat related injuries in Afghanistan. The cause of death is under investigation.

Ruiz was assigned to Forward Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg and was deployed in support of the Resolute Support Mission. This was Ruiz's first deployment to Afghanistan in support of Overseas Contingency Operations.

In an email from Afghanistan, Ruiz's battalion commander, Lt. Col. John Sannes said, "Today we lost a great Soldier, leader, husband and father."

"He was a Ranger qualified, senior noncommissioned officer, selected for (promotion to) Master Sgt., that led by example, always diving in alongside his Soldiers to complete any mission or task," Sannes added.

Ruiz enlisted in the Army in May 2003 as a Cook. Upon completion of Army Basic Combat, Advanced Individual Training and the Army Basic Airborne Course, he reported to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, in December of 2003.

Ruiz served in 2nd Brigade for more than eight years, rising through the ranks to become a senior food operations sergeant for the unit. During his service with the brigade, Ruiz deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom three times.

Ruiz was assigned to 3rd SFG (A) in April 2015 as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the forward dining facility in Afghanistan.

Ruiz's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (second award), Army Commendation Medal (fifth award), Army Achievement Medal (fifth award), Army Good Conduct Medal (fourth award) and National Defense Service Medal.

He was also awarded the Iraqi Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral 3), Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (numeral 3), Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Combat Action Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

Ruiz was posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant and awarded his sixth Army Commendation Medal and his third Meritorious Service Medal.