WASHINGTON: 5 US troops killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan - WRBL

Fort Bragg soldier among 5 killed in Afghanistan

Posted: Updated:
Justin Helton was among five soldiers killed by a U.S. airstrike called in to help them after they were ambushed by the Taliban. Justin Helton was among five soldiers killed by a U.S. airstrike called in to help them after they were ambushed by the Taliban.
CINCINNATI -

A Fort Bragg soldier from southern Ohio was one of five American troops killed this week during an airstrike in southern Afghanistan, a relative said Tuesday.

Military representatives knocked on the door of Justin Helton's parents' home in Beaver, a two-hour drive east of Cincinnati, about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday to inform them of his death, said his cousin Mindy Helton.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the five American troops were killed Monday "during a security operation in southern Afghanistan."

"Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause," Kirby said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen."

The five American troops, with a special operations unit, were killed by a U.S. airstrike called in to help them after they were ambushed by the Taliban. As of Tuesday, the Pentagon had not released the names of those killed.

Mindy Helton said her cousin's immediate family wasn't commenting publicly.

"Everybody is just so rattled," she said.

Justin Helton, 25, had been in the Army since 2010 but had been in Afghanistan for only about two months, she said. It was his first deployment, and he expected to be home in about six months, she said.

She said her cousin specialized in dealing with explosives and was based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"He was a great boy, so full of life and outgoing," she said. "He loved hunting and the outdoors."

The 2006 graduate from Eastern High School was known to friends and family as Buck and was a quiet leader, Robert Day, his high school baseball coach, told WCMH-TV in Columbus.

A pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Piketon, Robie Day, Robert Day's son, told The Columbus Dispatch that he's known the Helton family for a long time and learned of the death Tuesday morning when he got his first prayer request.

"Justin was one of those kids that always had a smile on his face," said Robie Day, who told the newspaper he helped his father coach baseball when Helton was on the Eastern team. "He was quiet, but he was a great leader and one of those friends you love to have."

Of the 30,000 or so U.S. troops left in Afghanistan, special operations forces are among the only ones active on the battlefield, mentoring and advising Afghan commandos during raids.

Tim Hattle, who knew Helton since grade school, told WCMH that he messaged his best friend on Facebook last week.

"Wouldn't be long until he was home. He said time was really dragging over there. I said, 'Just don't worry. You'll be home soon.' And to be safe," Hattle said. "Then I told him I loved him."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • U.S.More>>

  • Hundreds of teens have died playing this old, but popular game

    Hundreds of teens have died playing this old but popular game

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:53 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:53:25 GMT
    A troubling and alarming old game has resurfaced on social media. Teens across the country are passing out to get high, and the consequences could be deadly.
    A troubling and alarming old game has resurfaced on social media. Teens across the country are passing out to get high, and the consequences could be deadly.
  • House approves VA health care overhaul

    House approves VA health care overhaul

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:57:37 GMT
    With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is moving quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care.
    The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill Wednesday to help veterans avoid long waits for health care that have plagued the Veterans Affairs Department for years.
  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:47 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:47:20 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.