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Michigan soldier killed, U.P. man hurt in Afghanistan

August 4, 2012
The Mining Journal

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan Army National Guard soldier was killed in Afghanistan and four others - including an Upper Peninsula guardsman - were wounded when a bomb blew up near them while they were out on foot patrol, the military said Friday.

Spc. Kyle McClain, a 25-year-old soldier from Shelby Township in suburban Detroit, was killed Wednesday when an improvised explosive device detonated near Salim Aka, the Michigan National Guard said.

The injured soldiers are Spec. Steven Nelson, 26, of Dollar Bay; Staff Sgt. Robert Drebenstedt, 29, of Charlevoix; Spec. William Barnett, 24, of Ypsilanti; and Pvt. Joshua Colon, 20, of Grand Rapids.

McClain and 90 members of the 1433rd Engineer Company, based in Kalamazoo County, were sent to Afghanistan in May for a one-year tour of duty.

McClain is the 21st Michigan National Guard member killed in action since 2003.

"It's not a common thing but it has happened before," Staff Sgt. Jason Boyd, a Michigan National Guard spokesman, said of the number of soldiers.

On Feb. 26, five members of the Guard were injured by an explosive in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan. They survived.

Boyd said the engineers' job is to check routes for possible explosives. He didn't know why they were on foot patrol.

"We mainly use vehicles that will detect the possibility of IEDs," he said. "They don't look under rocks. They look for wires sticking out of the ground and other warning signs. There may be disturbed concrete. There may be disturbed soil that wasn't there the day before."



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