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Deaths bring perils of war home again

June 18, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Fresh on the heels of Memorial Day, America lost another five service personnel to the perils of war.

On Saturday, the Department of Defense released the identities of the five soldiers who died last Monday in what officials believe was a "friendly fire" incident after air support was called in to help ward off a Taliban attack in Gaza Village, Afghanistan.

Among the dead are Staff Sgt. Scott R. Studenmund, 24, of Pasadena, California; Staff Sgt. Jason A. McDonald, 28, of Butler, Georgia; Spc. Justin R. Helton, 25, of Beaver, Ohio; Cpl. Justin R. Clouse, 22, of Sprague, Washington; and Pvt. 2nd Class Aaron S. Toppen, 19, of Mokena, Illinois.

"Staff Sgt. Studenmund and Staff Sgt. McDonald were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Spc. Helton was assigned to the 18th Ordnance Company, 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Cpl. Clouse and Pvt. 2nd Class Toppen were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado," the DOD release states.

May they rest in peace.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families as they tragically join some 6,805 others who have lost sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, husbands and loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan since the War on Terror began.

Now we could weigh in on "friendly fire" and how such things happen, the Bergdahl exchange, the current upheaval in Iraq or even our continuing presence overseas or the wisdom of war.

But now is not the time.

Now we, as a country - again - pause and mark the loss of brave young Americans who gave their lives in service to their country.

May God ever bless them and all those who serve.

- Citizen editorial



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