A 20-year-old college student and West Aurora grad died recently in Afghanistan, the Indiana National Guard said on Saturday.
Spc. Christopher A. Patterson was killed while conducting combat route clearance operations, or searching for roadside bombs. Three other soldiers also died in the incident, according to a statement released on Saturday.
Patterson's family is from North Aurora, the Kane County Chronicle reports.
"I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of these brave citizen–soldiers," Indiana Adjutant General R. Martin Umbarger said in the statement. "We will honor their sacrifice and always remember them."
Patterson had multiple ties to this area, according to his Facebook page. He was a 2009 graduate of West Aurora High School. He worked at the for two years in the Electronics Department.
Patterson was also a student at Valparaiso University, studying to get his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education, his Facebook page said.
Patterson's mother Mary told CBS 2 News on Saturday that her son did not have to go with his activated National Guard unit, but he wanted to because he enlisted for his country.
Along, with Patterson, the other three soldiers who died were:
- Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Metzger of Indianapolis, IN
- Spc. Brian J. Leonhardt of Merrillville, IN
- Spc. Robert J. Tauteris Jr. of Hamlet, IN
Patterson and the three soldiers were members of the 713th Engineer Company headquartered in Valparaiso, IN, the Natl. Guard statement said.
The 713th was under small arms fire and two of their vehicles hit roadside bombs, Leonhardt's father told the Chicago Tribune.
The families were notified of the deaths on Friday, the Aurora Beacon-News reports.
There was a moment of silence for Patterson on Saturday before the West Aurora varsity boys basketball game, according to a Daily Herald story.
A crisis management team will be at West Aurora on Monday for students and staff, the Herald's story said.
“This morning, I received from the adjutant general the news a person in my job dreads the most, that we have lost soldiers in combat," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said in the Saturday statement. "I had begun to hope that I had received the last such phone call, and cannot convey the sadness which it instantly brought."
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