WASHINGTON: 5 US troops killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

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.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Florida Missing Child Alert: 15-year-old girl

    Florida Missing Child Alert: 15-year-old girl

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:23:50 GMT
    Lindsey Turner (left) could be with Hailey Vallier (right).Lindsey Turner (left) could be with Hailey Vallier (right).
    A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for Lindsey Turner, a white female, 15 years old, 5 feet 02 inches tall, 140 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, a smiley face scar on inner right wrist, last seen in the 1900 block of W 60th Street in Hialeah.
    A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for Lindsey Turner, a white female, 15 years old, 5 feet 02 inches tall, 140 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, a smiley face scar on inner right wrist, last seen in the 1900 block of W 60th Street in Hialeah.
  • The 10 cities with America’s worst drivers

    The 10 cities with America’s worst drivers

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:25 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:25:20 GMT
    Driving in cities on the East Coast doesn't sound too appealing, based on the latest edition of the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Of the 200 most populated cities in the country, 9 of the 10 places where it's least safe to drive are located in eastern states.
    Driving in cities on the East Coast doesn't sound too appealing, based on the latest edition of the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Of the 200 most populated cities in the country, 9 of the 10 places where it's least safe to drive are located in eastern states.
  • Bear takes dip in back yard pool

    Bear takes dip in back yard pool

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:52 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:52:16 GMT
    NBC News imageNBC News image
    It's no secret that alligators sometimes make their way into pools here in Florida. But, in sunny California, bears have been known to venture into back yards to take a dip.
    It's no secret that alligators sometimes make their way into pools here in Florida. But, in sunny California, bears have been known to venture into back yards to take a dip.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

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