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Updated: Deaths bring perils of war home again

DOD releases names of the fallen

June 12, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze


The Department of Defense has released the names of the five servicemen who died in the "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan last week. The press release, issued Saturday, is below:

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of five soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died June 9, in Gaza Village, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered while engaged in a combat operation. The incident is under investigation.

Killed were:

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.

Editorial posted Thursday:

Deaths bring perils of war home again

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

While the Department of Defense has yet to release the identities of the five soldiers who died Monday in what officials believe was a "friendly fire" incident after air support was called in to help ward off a Taliban attack, local and national media are reporting the names of those killed in southern Zabul province in Afghanistan.

The various reports are based on confirmations from families in mourning.

Among the dead are two Fort Carson soldiers, Pvt. Aaron Toppen, 19, and Justin Clouse, 22, who were assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette; Staff Sgt. Scott Studenmund, a 24-year-old Green Beret, according to the Associated Press; and Justin Helton, 25, an explosive ordnance disposal bomb specialist, according to the Circleville (Ohio) Herald.

May they and their yet-to-be-named comrade 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.

- Breeze editorial



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