Yolo County Paratrooper Dies in Afghanistan
PFC Justin Casillas (army photo)
A Sacramento-area soldier has been killed while fighting in Afghanistan. The Pentagon announced Monday that Private First Class Justin Casillas died over the weekend in the eastern part of the country.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Casillas was from the small Yolo County town of Dunnigan, just off Interstate 5 northeast of Woodland. He joined the army a year ago. He trained as a paratrooper at Fort Benning in Georgia and arrived for duty at Alaska's Fort Richardson last November. His unit deployed in February. On Saturday – Independence Day – he was in the Paktika province of Eastern Afghanistan. Here’s army spokesman Chuck Canterbury:
Canterbury: “Their outpost in Eastern Afghanistan came under attack by semi-automatic and indirect fire weapons. And then there was a vehicle-born improvised explosive device that exploded near the perimeter of their outpost.”
A second paratrooper also died in the attack, and 13 other soldiers were injured. Two have recovered enough to return to active duty. The army says it’s notified all the soldiers’ families and plans to hold a memorial service for Casillas at Fort Richardson in the coming days. Casillas was just 19 years old.