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U.S. soldier from Southern California killed in Afghanistan

AfghanistanArmed ConflictsMokenaSpragueU.S. Department of DefenseU.S. Army
With 'heartbreak.' school announces grad killed in Afghanistan
Southern California soldier, 'an athlete and a scholar,' killed in Afghanistan friendly fire

An enlisted U.S. soldier from Southern California was among the military personnel killed by an apparent "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan.

Scott Studenmund, 24, who attended Flintridge Preparatory School, was killed Monday by an errant U.S. airstrike during a clash with the Taliban in the Zabul province of southern Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has not yet released the names of the five U.S. personnel killed in the incident. An Afghan translator and an Afghan soldier were also killed.

Studenmund's family and others confirmed he was among those killed.

"It is with heartbreak that I confirm that Scott Studenmund '08 was killed in Afghanistan on Monday," Flintridge Preparatory School headmaster Peter Bachmann said in an email.

DATABASE: California's War Dead

Studenmund was a "beloved member of his class, an athlete and a scholar," Bachmann said.

Studenmund's father, Woody Studenmund, is an economics professor at Occidental College.

In a story for the Flintridge school's alumni magazine, Studenmund wrote about playing football: "Football accesses your inner core and it ignites your warrior spirit. You learn that, if necessary, you have to act aggressively to get what you want."

Studenmund had attended Pitzer College before joining the Army. He was a staff sergeant based at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

"He worked his way up the ladder in rank," a neighbor of Studenmund's parents told KTLA. "They were so proud of him."

A family spokeswoman said that "from a very early age, he knew he wanted to serve his country."

The families of three of the other soldiers have confirmed their sons were killed: Justin Helton, 24, of Beaver, Ohio; Aaron Toppen, 19, of Mokena, Ill.; and Justin Clouse, 22, of Sprague, Wash.

The incident is under investigation.

Including the five killed Monday, the U.S. has had 19 fatalities this year in Afghanistan, down from a peak of 439 in 2010, according to USA Today.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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AfghanistanArmed ConflictsMokenaSpragueU.S. Department of DefenseU.S. Army
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