Ohio Soldier Killed In Airstrike Recalled For Wit

BEAVER, Ohio (AP) — A southern Ohio soldier killed in Afghanistan was known for his wit and ability to make any situation right, an Army official said at his funeral Monday in a school gymnasium lined with flowers and photos of the soldier.

Army Spc. Justin Helton, of Beaver, was among five U.S. soldiers killed June 9 in what has been described as a friendly fire airstrike while serving in a joint security operation in southern Afghanistan. The funeral was held at Helton’s former high school in Beaver, about a two-hour drive south of Columbus.

Brig. Gen. J.B. Burton said at the service that one of the men who served with Helton that night said that as the situation intensified, Helton turned to his buddy, smiled and said, “I just want to go home and get a cheeseburger.”

Burton told mourners that Helton’s fellow soldiers said his wit always cut the tension.

“He was the guy who always knew what to do,” Burton said.

Helton, 25, was assigned to the 18th Ordnance Company, 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The military has said that investigators were looking into the likelihood that the five soldiers’ deaths were caused by friendly fire from an airstrike called in to help when the unit came under attack by enemy forces.

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